OPEC pushes for output hike by month�s end

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries secretariat signaled its intention today to raise daily output levels from 10 of its member countries by a combined 500,000 b/d to 25.9 million bbl by the end of the month if world oil prices remained at �current levels.�


The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries secretariat signaled its intention today to raise daily output levels from 10 of its member countries to 25.9 million bbl by the end of the month if world oil prices remained at "current levels."

In a statement issued by the OPEC News Agency, Al�odr�ez Araque, Venezuela�s minister of energy and mines and the organization�s current president, was said to have "notified" OPEC oil ministers that "they should be prepared to take the necessary steps to raise output" by some 500,000 b/d if the OPEC basket of crude stayed above $28/bbl.

Though the move is in keeping with the decision taken at the organization�s meeting in June�where it was agreed OPEC production would be raised in 500,000 b/d increments to offset the overheated oil price�it follows weeks of lobbying by Saudi Arabia that hinged on the suggestion it would hike its own output by the prescribed total volume if OPEC failed to do so.

Under the newly-proposed scheme, Saudi Arabia would carry almost one third of the overall production increase�some 162,000 b/d (see list at bottom). The remaining 338,000 b/d would be made up by cartel member countries including Iran (73,000 b/d) and Venezuela (58,000 b/d). Iraq is sidelined from involvement in the plan due to ongoing United Nations sanctions.

Brent crude, which so far this month has seen an average price of $29.85/bbl, fell slightly into the $28.60s this morning in London. NYMEX crude had dropped to $30.62 by midday.

Planned production increase by country, b/d:

Algeria, 16,000
Indonesia, 26,000
Iran, 73,000
Kuwait, 40,000
Libya, 27,000
Nigeria, 41,000
Qatar, 13,000
Saudi Arabia, 162,000
UAE, 44,000
Venezuela, 58,000
Total, 500,000

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