Kate Mackenzie Opec: Reading the tea leaves

Opec’s next meeting takes place next Wednesday in Vienna (and a decision will come late, because of Ramadan).

Trying to predict an Opec decision based on comments from member countries in the lead-up is notoriously difficult. But for those who like guessing, Reuters has a handy list of what’s been said to their reporters in the last couple of weeks:

AUG 31
Bulging global oil inventories remain a major concern for OPEC member states, even as signs of a possible global economic recovery grow, and will probably be be a topic at the meeting, Iran’s OPEC governor said.
“Everyone is worried about the current stock levels… for both OECD countries and floating storage,” Mohammad Ali Khatibi told Reuters in a telephone interview. “It may be considered by ministers a policy within one year, maybe a lower or higher period, to bring stock levels back down to normal.”

AUG 30
Qatar’s Oil Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah said OPEC was likely to keep oil production targets unchanged.
“In my opinion, OPEC will not change the situation,” he told  Reuters by telephone.

A senior Gulf OPEC delegate also told Reuters on Aug. 30 that no change was the likely outcome.
“According to (the) current circumstances of supply and demand, possible demand during winter and the start of an economic recovery, they (ministers) might keep things as they are until the next meeting,” the delegate said.

AUG 26
Nigeria would like to see oil prices remain between $70-80 and will not push for production changes, its oil minister said. “We would like to see the price remain between $70-80. For the production, it is ok as it is for now,” Rilwanu Lukman told reporters in the capital Abuja when asked what Nigeria’s stance
would  be at the OPEC meeting.

AUG 25
Venezuela’s Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said world oil  inventories are too high, and he did not expect OPEC to raise output. Ramirez told Reuters that oil could reach an average of $70 per barrel by year-end if “current conditions hold,” and could go as high as an average $75 per barrel in the last three months of the year.
“Inventories have declined but they remain above average. We need for them to come down to the average levels,” Ramirez said.

AUG 24
Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said he saw no need for OPEC to raise production at the meeting.
“We see absolutely no need for OPEC states to decide to raise production at the next meeting,” Shahristani said on the sidelines of a meeting between Iraqi officials and executives from the oil industry.

AUG 19
Kuwait’s Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah said there was no need to change production.
“There is no need to increase or cut output,” he said. “Kuwait is happy with current output. The current oil price is not bad at all.”

AUG 13
Shokri Ghanem, chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corp. and the country’s most senior oil official, said world oil demand had yet to show any sign of recovering and the market was oversupplied. “Everybody should be urged to comply,” Ghanem said. “We are calling for compliance and should not, whenever we see the price is moving up, open the taps and produce more.”

AUG 10
Ecuadorean Energy Minister Germanico Pinto told Reuters he saw no need for an OPEC oil production cut, adding he expected oil prices to stabilise. “I think the price is going to stabilise at between $70 to
$72 (per barrel),” he told Reuters. Asked if more OPEC output cuts were needed, he said: “I don’t think so, we’re on our way to stabilisation.”

Related links:

Carola Hoyos’ guide to who’s who of Opec