Sunday, December 12, 2010

No OPEC Production Change & No Surprise

As expected, no major surprises came out of OPEC's 158th Meeting in the Ecuadorian capital Quito where the cartel left its production quotas unchanged this weekend. Some four of the twelve oil ministers from member nations – namely those of Kuwait, Qatar, Nigeria and Iraq – did not even turn up and sent junior officials instead.

It was interesting listening to an APTV recording of a press conference prior to the commencement of the OPEC meeting wherein none other than the Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told a media scrum, “You guys really worry too much about prices. They go up, they go down. What’s new?”

We ask only because there is the little matter of the price of black gold capping US$90 per barrel either side of the pond for the first time in two years. He predicted a few seconds later that there would be no increase in OPEC production and here we are a few days hence. Interestingly, on the same day as Naimi was chiding reporters in Quito, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) opined that OPEC may come under pressure over 2011 to raise production.

IEA currently expects oil demand in 2011 to rise by 1.3 million bpd; 260,000 bpd more than previously forecast. In an accompanying statement, it said, "Although economic concerns remain skewed to the downside, not least if current high prices begin to act as a drag on growth, more immediately demand could surprise to the upside."

Overall, Global oil supply reached 88.1 million barrels a day last month, hitherto its highest ever level. Furthermore, the IEA forecasts world demand to expand 1.5 per cent in 2011 to 88.8 million barrels a day, which if recorded would also be a record. Its medium term projections for world oil demand for 2009-2015 is an average rise of 1.4 million bpd each year; an increment from its June assessment.

© Gaurav Sharma 2010. Photo: OPEC Logo © Gaurav Sharma

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