As widely expected and in line with market expectations, the 163rd OPEC meeting of ministers ended with the 12 members of the oil exporting club keeping their official collective production quota right where it was – at 30 million barrels per day (bpd).
OPEC noted that the “relative steadiness” of crude oil prices during 2013 (to-date) was an indication that the market was adequately supplied, with “the periodic price fluctuations being a reflection of geopolitical tensions.”
However, the cartel felt that whilst world economic growth was projected to reach 3.2% in 2013, up from 3% in 2012, downside risks to the global economy, especially in the OECD region, remain unchecked.
OPEC said that world oil demand is expected to rise from 88.9 million bpd in 2012 to 89.7 million bpd in 2013, driven “almost entirely” by the non-OECD regions. It also projected non-OPEC supply to grow by 1.0 million bpd.
OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem el-Badri said, “Taking these developments into account, the second half of the year could see a further easing in fundamentals, despite seasonally-higher demand. In light of the foregoing, we have in decided that member countries should adhere to the existing production ceiling of 30 million bpd.”
El-Badri was not prepared to discuss the individual members’ quotas, a figure which OPEC no longer releases for publication. The Secretary General also revealed that no agreement was reached over the election of his successor with the same three candidates – viz the two protagonists Majid Munif (Saudi Arabia) and Gholam-Hussein Nozari (Iran) with compromise candidate Thamir Ghadban (an Iraqi official) – being in the frame.
“The candidates remain the same, but if a fresh name comes up then we will examine his/her credentials in the usual way,” the Secretary General said. In his response to the debate about shale’s impact on OPEC members’ fortunes and a possible rise in their spare capacity, El-Badri said the impact of unconventional oil production remains uncertain and if it resulted in a rise in OPEC’s spare capacity then there was no reason to be alarmed.
“I am in the business of conventional. The way I see it is that if it is a causative factor in a rise in OPEC’s spare capacity then I say why not? What’s the harm? The International Energy Agency (IEA) cannot have it both ways. Before the shale debate began, the agency expressed alarm at the perceived lack of OPEC’s spare capacity. Now when there is a perception that our spare capacity would rise, they again see it as a problem,” he added.
El-Badri said OPEC members would, if required, take steps to ensure market balance and reasonable price levels for producers and consumers, and respond to developments that might place oil market stability in jeopardy. OPEC said its next meeting will convene in Vienna, Austria, on Dec 4, 2013. That’s all for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!
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© Gaurav Sharma 2013. OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem el-Badri speaks at the conclusion of the 163rd OPEC meeting of ministers © Gaurav Sharma, May 31, 2013.