KUWAIT CITY, (AP) – Members of OPEC will consider an increase in crude output when they meet next month, Kuwait’s oil minister told the official Kuwait News Agency on Monday.
Mohammed al-Eleim was quoted as saying oil ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will discuss a hike March 5 after “closely monitoring” international oil markets.
The 13-nation cartel decided Friday to keep pumping oil at present levels. It was a rebuff to U.S. officials who have been pressing for more oil on the market to cool prices and relieve inflationary pressures that have contributed to fears of a global economic downturn.
The decision was also a possible prelude to cutting production if the shaky U.S. economy puts a dent on demand.
Al-Eleim told Kuwait’s news agency that markets were not surprised by OPEC’s decision. He said the organization sets output according to market factors, not speculation and geopolitical jitters.
Including Iraq, which is not under quotas, total OPEC output is estimated at about 31.5 million barrels a day around 40 percent of daily world demand, which is believed to be around 85.5 million barrels. The formal OPEC 12 output ceiling is around 30 million barrels a day.