updated 8/29/2005 11:46:53 AM ET 2005-08-29T15:46:53

The president of OPEC said Monday he will propose that the group of oil producing states increase its production by 500,000 barrels a day next month.

“I will try, as the president, to propose the issue of increasing the production and the output ceiling at our coming meeting” on Sept. 19, said Sheik Ahmed Fahd Al Ahmed Al Sabah, who is also Kuwait’s energy minister.

He said he wants to boost actual production by 500,000 barrels a day above what the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries currently supplies to the market. Past increases in OPEC’s official output ceiling have usually failed to impress the market as the group is known to produce above that limit.

OPEC’s 11 member states pumped more than 30 million barrels a day in July, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey.

Sheik Ahmed’s comments came as U.S. crude futures briefly surged to more than $70 a barrel on Monday as Hurricane Katrina struck the United States’ Gulf coast.

Sheik Ahmed said OPEC was concerned about the soaring oil price, but he blamed it on factors beyond the group’s control.

“We are trying to do everything to stabilize the prices. It looks like the prices are not related to the production anymore. They are related to other factors, like geopolitics, the weather, the refining,” he said.

Sheik Ahmed said most of the extra crude would come from Saudi Arabia.

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