OPEC’s oil ministers have agreed to keep the cartel’s output unchanged at 30 million barrels a day. But experts think the producers may soon have to pump less if they want to keep prices up in the face of slowing economic growth and demand.
However it may be difficult to get agreement for a pull-back – particularly from Iraq which is rebuilding its industry.
The United Arab Emirates oil minister, Mohamed bin Dhaen al Hamli, said output of 30 million barrels a day should satisfy the market, he called it a reasonable figure, but added there is extra capacity available to meet market needs.
At the same time, the International Energy Agency said it expects sluggish, but growing global demand next year at 90.5 million barrels a day; indeed consumption is believed to have already reached that towards the end of 2012.
The IEA explained that “the markets have grown somewhat more optimistic about the Chinese economy.. after a long period in the doldrums.”
Demand growth in Asia is offsetting a fall in Europe, which in the experienced its steepest contraction in demand since the start of the 2008-2009 financial crisis.