OPEC: Still the same problems of limited oil supply

Major Gulf producer Kuwait will back a hike of 1 million barrels per day in OPEC's output ceiling if oil prices stay at record levels, a move that would bring formal production limits in line with actual supplies.

&to=http:// english.pravda.ru/economics/2003/03/26/45032.html ' target=_blank>OPEC ministers also pledged on Sunday to do what they can to deflate oil prices at record high levels beyond $53. Top crude exporter Saudi Arabia said it could immediately tap 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of its spare capacity if needed.

"If prices continue as they are now, we will ask for an increase in the ceiling of production. &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/18/88/354/13865_oil.html ' target=_blank>Kuwait would support this," Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahd al-Sabah told reporters at an oil exhibition in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

"We could increase by another 1 million to make official the 28 million. That would be another signal to the market that OPEC continues to support market stability," he said, says Reuters.

According to the Bloomberg, OPEC members pumped an estimated 30.5 million barrels a day in September, up from 29.9 million a month earlier, Bloomberg data show. The group still holds about 1.5 million barrels a day of spare capacity, according to Bloomberg.

The United Arab Emirates, the fourth-largest &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/comp/2002/09/18/36826.html ' target=_blank>oil producer in the Middle East, will add 300,000 barrels a day of production next year, and 700,000 in 2006, its oil minister said before the same conference.

"We are investing about $1 billion for every 100,000 barrels a day of extra capacity," Obaid bin Saif al-Nasseri said. "We are doing all we can to cool prices." The U.A.E. is pumping 2.5 million barrels a day currently, he said.

The new capacity from the Gulf won't come on stream in time for this winter in the northern hemisphere.

The latest spike in prices has been fuelled by worries over strikes by oil workers in Nigeria and Norway, and by a drop in production in the Gulf of Mexico because of hurricane damage.

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