Tuesday, June 29, 2010

OPEC 'Comfortable' with Oil Prices

OPEC appears to be comfortable with the current price of oil, presently trading at US$ 75+ per barrel, according to the cartel’s Secretary General Abdalla Salem El-Badri.

Speaking to journalists, prior to a meeting with European Union representatives, he said, “Current prices are comfortable. I don't see any change in the production; I don't see any meeting coming before the set-up meeting in October (viz. 14)."

El-Badri added there was plenty of oil in the supply chain and that and discipline was needed among OPEC member countries when it came to compliance with production quotas. He felt compliance was recently around 53%, and said he doesn't see the level falling below that.

His comments, while noteworthy, hardly come as a surprise. The OPEC secretary general also said that oil giant BP was “too big” to be pushed to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill which is yet to be plugged. However, he added that the oil spill may impact crude prices in the long-term if regulation becomes too strict and projects get cancelled or delayed.

On the sidelines of El-Badri’s arrival in Brussels, news emerged that energy giant Total has stopped petrol deliveries to Iran, bowing to pressure over Iran's nuclear programme. A spokeswoman for Total confirmed the move on Monday evening after the US Congress had earlier proposed unilateral sanctions that could punish companies doing business with Iran.

Additionally, Reuters reported that Repsol had withdrawn from a contract it won with Royal Dutch Shell to develop the South Pars gas field in southern Iran. Despite, being a leading member of OPEC and a major oil exporting country Iran suffers from a severe lack of refinery capacity and depends on petrol imports for over 30% of its domestic consumption according to industry estimates.

© Gaurav Sharma 2010. File Photo © Gaurav Sharma 2008 - OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem El-Badri (right) with Former OPEC President Chakib Khelil (left)

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