OPEC Chief Calls on Members to Stick to Output Quotas

A0388648.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- OPEC members should keep oil output within the group’s agreed targets, OPEC’s President Chakib Khelil said in remarks published on Monday.

OPEC’s 13 members are bound by informal output targets, except Iraq. The twelve pumped at 30.20 million barrels per day (bpd) in July according to a Reuters survey, over 500,000 bpd above the informal target.

“Except for Iraq and new members who are outside the OPEC quota, the rest of the members should produce in the framework of their committed quota,” Iran’s oil ministry news agency Shana quoted Khelil as saying.

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia pumped at 9.7 million bpd in July, the fastest rate since 1981 and well above its target of 8.943 million bpd. As prices rallied in June, a source familiar with Saudi thinking said that OPEC was taking its output cues from global demand rather than the group’s targets.

Iran’s Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari warned in early August that OPEC members who have raised output “must bring it under control” if oil prices fall further.

He said OPEC would discuss observance of targets at its next meeting in September if prices continued to fall.

Since then, the price has slipped to $116 a barrel from $125, well off the July peak of $147.

Iran, OPEC’s second largest producer, pumped at 3.9 million bpd in July, above its target of 3.817 million bpd.

OPEC pumps more than a third of the world’s oil supply.

The falling oil price will put pressure on projects to expand oil output, Shana quoted Nozari as saying on Monday.

Project costs rose with oil’s rally, but will not decline in step with oil’s fall, he said.

“This issue puts pressure on oil projects,” he added.

Khelil met Nozari on Sunday. The OPEC president, who is also Algeria’s energy and mines minister, was accompanying Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on an official visit to Iran.

New OPEC members Angola and Ecuador received their OPEC quotas on January 1. Khelil did not explain in his comments to Shana why they were outside the quota.

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