OPEC says oil out­put level to re­main steady

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - As­so­ci­ated press

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.

Joe Klamar AFP/Getty Images

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.

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