There was little meeting of minds between OPEC and the European Union at a gathering in Brussels to discuss high oil prices. The producers’ cartel continued to blame speculators and rejected a call from European importers for them to increase crude output insisting there is no need as supply is meeting demand.
EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs put the best face on it as he told reporters: “I’m looking forward to a future exchange of views between OPEC and the EU; sometimes we disagree, but we are moving to close this gap, because we are working now on the basis of very concrete studies and facts, not just assumptions.”
While OPEC President’s Chakib Khelil said: “We have some clear messages to take back to our member countries with regard to the dialogue’s progress in some important areas, like refining, the financial markets and volatility, the carbon capture and storage.”
This year world demand for oil is projected to be 87 million barrels a day, with 15.7 million going to the European Union. OPEC’s output – including crude from Iraq – is expected to be 32 million barrels per day.
OPEC could theoretically pump more; energy experts calculate that it has spare capacity of around three million barrels a day, with more than two thirds of that in Saudi Arabia, but a majority of OPEC members remain opposed to a production increase with OPEC’s secretary general Abdullah al-Badri saying “the market is full of oil.”