OPEC likely to maintain current oil output

OPEC is not expected to make any fundamental change in output at its next meeting, Qatar’s oil minister was quoted on Saturday as saying by al-Hayat newspaper.

Separately, the Saudi newspaper al-Riyadh quoted an unnamed senior OPEC official as saying the producers group is expected to maintain its production ceiling unchanged at the meeting.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets in Vienna on March 17 to review its oil supply policy.

It has left its output targets unchanged since December 2008 when it agreed to cut 4.2 million barrels per day (bpd) but compliance has waned to 53 percent.

OPEC officials have said they do not expect a change in targets while prices have traded broadly within their desired range of US$70 to US$80 per barrel since the last meeting in December.

"I do not see any fundamental change in output during this meeting. I think the decision would be to extend OPEC’s current decision, and a decision on close monitoring of the oil market would be taken," Qatar’s Abdullah al-Attiyah was quoted as saying by Saudi-owned al-Hayat.
"It is true that global inventories are high but oil prices are fluctuating in such a way that … does not allow taking a new decision at this stage," he said.

U.S. crude fell more than 1 percent toward US$81 a barrel on Friday.

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