OPEC’s Kuwaiti president said on Sunday there was no need for the cartel to cut production when it meets next month and described oil prices as being at a reasonable level.
The United Arab Emirates’ oil minister said, however, that the cartel, which meets in Kuwait on Dec 12, may consider rolling over a 2 million barrels per day offer of spare capacity if markets needed it.
OPEC President Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahd al-Sabah, who is also Kuwait’s energy minister, dismissed speculation about a production cut, echoing comments from Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter.
“I, as Kuwait’s (energy minister), think there is no need for decreasing production. We are helping to stabilize the market and prices, therefore there is no need for a cut at this moment,” Sheikh Ahmad said.
On Saturday, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said OPEC oil exporters were not thinking of cutting production levels at the meeting despite a recent fall in world oil prices.
Sheikh Ahmad said he thought oil prices were at reasonable levels and that the cartel would work to ensure that they remained so.
“I think the prices are still at a very good and reasonable (level) now,” he said.
“We hope the prices will be reasonable for everybody, this is what we were doing all last year, trying to bring prices to a normal situation. OPEC will continue with the same practices and behaviors as last year just to make sure that prices will continue ... (to be) reasonable,” he said.
London Brent crude oil drifted lower on Friday, extending the previous session’s deep slide as healthy fuel stocks took the sting out of cold weather. Brent settled 29 cents lower at $55.01 a barrel after closing $1 down on Thursday.
Activity was limited as the U.S. market was closed for the second day of the Thanksgiving holiday and the Brent market closed early at 1815 GMT.
U.S. crude futures settled at $58.71 on Wednesday, around $12 below the all-time high of $70.85 struck at the end of August.
To try to calm prices as they hit record highs, OPEC agreed in September to offer its spare output capacity, the lion’s share of which is held by Saudi Arabia. The oil was on offer from Oct. 1 for three months, but ministers have said there were no takers.
UAE Oil Minister Mohammed bin Dhaen al-Hamli said the offer could be renewed. “If the market needs it we will offer it, I am sure,” Hamli told reporters.
Sheikh Ahmad said it was too early to decide the issue.
“We will wait for the next meeting to decide, but I think there is no need to decrease the production now.”