ABU DHABI (Reuters) – International oil markets have enough oil, but a lack of capacity to refine it was contributing to high prices, OPEC’s president told reporters on Sunday.
“Current supplies to the petroleum market are sufficient,” OPEC President and United Arab Emirates Oil Minister Mohammed al-Hamli said before traveling to Vienna to attend an OPEC meeting on Tuesday.
Ahead of the meeting, several ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have said there was no need for the group to change output, despite pressure from consuming countries to open the taps to bring down prices.
Hamli said that commercial stocks in industrialized countries were higher than they had been for the past five years.
OPEC was committed to supplying enough oil for consumers, Hamli said, and had spare capacity of around 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd) if needed.
The group’s output was just over 30 million bpd, he said. OPEC produced 30.37 million bpd in August, over a third of the world’s 85 million bpd supply, according to a Reuters survey.
OPEC members had embarked on more than 100 projects with investment value of over $120 billion to increase production capacity, Hamli said. That was aside from projects to boost oil infrastructure and refining capacity, he added.
“This confirms OPEC’s commitment to providing sufficient supplies of crude oil to the world markets,” he said.
The world economy was showing strong growth this year despite taking a knock from the U.S. credit crunch, he said. He expected growth to stay strong next year. Oil demand growth is dependent on economic expansion.
Hamli called for continued close cooperation between OPEC and consuming countries to ensure future supply and demand were matched.
“Security of supply and security of demand are two sides of the same coin,” he said.