Opec ministers see no need for supply boost


World oil supply is enough and there is no need for Opec to boost output to lower near-record prices, the group's president and the oil minister for Qatar said on Tuesday.


The comments are the latest to underscore Opec's view that factors beyond supply and demand have pushed prices higher. Oil hit a record $111.80 (Dh410) a barrel on March 17 and was trading around $109 (Dh400) on Tuesday.


"Supply is there. Stocks are in pretty good shape. We are entering the period when we see lower demand," Khelil, who is also Algeria's oil minister, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in London.


"Nothing has changed to change at least my view of the situation, which is there is really no need for increasing the supply."


The oil minister for Qatar, one of the smallest producers in the 13-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, made similar remarks in Paris earlier on Tuesday.


"I am confident there is no shortage of oil at all," Abdullah al-Attiyah told journalists on the sidelines of a meeting at the Qatari Embassy in Paris.


"Is there a need for extra production? I don't think so."


His remarks echoed comments al-Attiyah made in an interview with London-based Al Hayat newspaper, published on Tuesday, in which he said the oil market was "saturated."


Opec pumps about two in every five barrels of oil.





At its last three meetings, held in December, February and March, Opec rebuffed calls from consumers including the United States to raise supply, saying the world had enough crude.


The group has not scheduled another meeting until September and there is little chance that ministers will gather during an energy forum in Rome on April 20-22, Khelil said.


"There is still that possibility that we informally meet," he said. "But the probability that we will, will be very low."


The Opec ministers repeated the organisation's view that factors including the weakness of the dollar, speculative trading and political tension in the world are lifting prices, not a lack of oil.


"The price is not related to supply at all but is under the influence of speculators," Al Attiyah said. "We don't see any panic in the world. There are no queues at gas stations." Analysts say the weak dollar has helped boost the price of oil and other commodities as investors seek a hedge against inflation. That weakness is likely to persist, Khelil said.


"We see more lowering of the value of the dollar in the near future, as far as I am concerned," he said. "Consequently, we should see more impact on the oil price."


Opec would have to act should a world recession hit demand, Attiyah told Al Hayat.


"Should there be a global economic recession, demand would decline in this case and Opec would have to intervene to strike a balance between supply and demand," he said.


He said Opec should react "immediately" should oil fall under $80, adding that crude should not be allowed to fall beyond a certain level because that would have a dire impact on the oil industry. (Reuters)