OPEC says oil output level to remain steady
VIENNA — OPEC decided to keep its oil output target on hold Friday and predicted that prices would remain low for the foreseeable future — good news for oil-hungry international industries and consumers at the gas pump.
The cartel said its output level would remain at 30 million barrels a day despite the fact that prices were still low compared with a year ago. OPEC left it to member states to restrain any overproduction, an acknowledg- ment of the cartel’s inability to enforce its own limits as it struggles to control world supply and prices.
With non-OPEC oil-producing countries ready to ramp up production if prices go much above present levels, OPEC’s secretary general said the cost of crude will stay relatively low for a while.
“The reality now is that we cannot have these [prices] anymore,” Abdalla El-Badri said.
The international price of crude was down $1.62 at $62.10 after Friday’s announcement, having traded above $115 a barrel in 2014.
Although the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries accounts for more than a third of the world’s oil, its power to determine supply and demand has eroded as outsiders have captured large shares of the market. It gave up imposing quotas on members four years ago after these were consistently ignored.
That has led to an overhang in recent months of more than 1 million barrels a day of OPEC production beyond the target. But the likelihood of continued overproduction persists.
OPEC SECRETARY-GENERAL Abdalla El-Badri, left, and the oil ministers of Qatar and Saudi Arabia attend a seminar in Vienna ahead of the OPEC meeting.