LONDON (Reuters) – OPEC may consult on whether the group needs to boost oil output before a scheduled meeting in September should crude oil prices keep rising, an OPEC source said on Friday.
The comment is the first in months to depart from the usual line from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that oil’s rally to a record high near $125 a barrel is due to factors beyond supply and demand and not a shortage.
“If the price keeps going up, OPEC may consult on an increase in production before it meets in September,” the source said.
“In my view, any increase would have to be more than 500,000 barrels per day to have an impact on the price.”
Publicly, ministers and officials from OPEC insist that supply is adequate despite pressure from the United States and other major consumer countries for more oil to lower the price.
The group’s secretary-general, Adbullah al-Badri, said on Thursday in a statement that OPEC was prepared to pump more oil if needed to keep pace with demand, although supply was enough for now.
OPEC, source of two in every five barrels of oil, boosted production by a modest 500,000 bpd at a meeting in September but rebuffed consumer calls to pump more at gatherings in December, February and March.
The group is next scheduled to meet to decide output policy on September 9 at its headquarters in Vienna.