Oil was trading around $71 a barrel on Wednesday, up more than $2 on the day but close to the bottom of the $70 to $80 range that many in OPEC have said is fair for both producers and consumers. Libya’s top oil official Shokri Ghanem speaking at the Reuters Global Energy Summit said, “We are concerned, we are following it up and we are asking each other to abide by the ceiling. For the time being, this is what we are doing,”
The comments add to indications this week that, while some members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are voicing concern about falling prices, the group has no plans for an early meeting to consider policy.
Oil has fallen from a 19-month high of $87.15 a barrel reached in early May on concern that Europe’s debt crisis would derail the global economic recovery.
Shokri Ghanem, chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation said OPEC would monitor the market to see if prices developed a definite downward trend, but added it had no plans to meet before its next scheduled gathering in October.
“We have to establish first of all the general trend. We cannot take one or two days’ volatility to make a decision,” Ghanem said.
Oil ministers from fellow OPEC members Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday played down the slide in prices and also said OPEC had no plan to call an emergency meeting. Ghanem said there was no specific price that would lead OPEC to call an emergency meeting, “There are so many factors affecting the price. Because of the strength of the dollar and because of the stocks, I don’t expect it quickly to come back to $87, or $89 or $90.”
OPEC has left its output ceiling unchanged for more than a year since announcing a record supply curb of 4.2 million barrels per day in December 2008 to combat lower demand and prices hit by the economic crisis. However compliance with that accord has been declining since last year because higher prices have encouraged some members to pump more barrels.