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OPEC sees no need to trim supply further

OPEC members are not keen to boost oil output.

LONDON: The world oil market should remain well supplied in 2013 and OPEC does not need to trim back its oil output, OPEC secretary-general Abdullah al-Badri said Monday.

OPEC output fell in December to its lowest in more than a year as its top producer Saudi Arabia cut back, leaving OPEC production the closest it has yet been to the group’s target of 30 million barrels per day.

“There is an improvement in the world economy but some countries are still facing difficulties,” Badri told reporters at an oil conference when asked whether OPEC needed to further tighten its output compliance.

“We don’t want to cut production if some countries, major countries, are struggling with their economies.”

Speaking a month after the producer group left its output policy unchanged at a meeting in Vienna, Badri indicated he was happy with the state of the market and told the conference OPEC did not envisage a price collapse.

“Looking ahead for 2013 the market is expected to remain well supplied to meet the expected demand growth,” he said. “Unless something dramatic happens, 2013 will be a repetition of 2012.”

OPEC has a collective output target of 30 million bpd and no quotas for the individual members. Badri said he thought it unlikely OPEC would tackle the assignment of a quota for Iraq – long exempt from OPEC quotas – this year.

“I don’t think it will come in 2013. It’s not the time,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Middle East and North Africa Energy conference.

While security of oil and gas sites is always a focus for OPEC members, the deadly attack on an Algerian gas plant earlier this month highlighted the need to protect installations.

“Security should be focused on anyway, without this incident or with this incident,” Badri said. “It is very important to have security to guard your facilities.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 29, 2013, on page 5.

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