OPEC keeps oil supplies unchanged

February 2, 2008

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) yesterday kept oil supplies unchanged at 29.67 million barrels and began a debate about whether or not an output cut is needed in March to protect prices against a drop in demand, the Arab News reported today.

OPEC rejected an appeal from Washington for more oil to lower fuel bills and bolster its slowing economy.

Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi said he would have pressed for an output increase if it were needed but that global supply and demand were in balance. “The condition of the market is sound currently, supply and demand are equal and global reserves are fine,” Al-Naimi said, as quoted in the Arab News.

Al-Naimi said Saudi Arabia now was pumping at 9.2 million bpd, well above its OPEC allocation of 8.94 million bpd.