OPEC considers modest oil output rise
( Reuters ) - OPEC was meeting on Tuesday to consider a modest rise in oil output proposed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states in a gesture to consumers worried by the economic impact of $77 oil and rapidly diminishing stocks.
But the plan had yet to convince all OPEC ministers. Venezuela, Algeria and Libya said they were not in support of increasing supplies. Others declined comment.
"The majority feel that production is meeting demand. Others believe an increase is needed in the coming months to meet an increase in demand. The maximum that I have heard is 500,000 barrels per day (bpd)," Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said ahead of the talks.
OPEC sources told Reuters that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait favored a supply increase of between 500,000 bpd and 1.0 million bpd. "But if they meet stiff resistance, they may just drop the idea," one source added.
OPEC, pumping some 30 million barrels per day into the 86 million bpd global market, is trying to make sense of conflicting economic data leading into peak winter demand.
Industrialized consumer nations are forecasting their crude oil stocks will fall to the bottom of the five-year average range by January unless OPEC pumps more crude oil, and fast.
U.S. crude oil is above $77, close to its August 1 record high of $78.77 a barrel, following attacks on oil and natural gas pipelines in Mexico, the world's fifth largest crude exporter.
But uncertainty over the U.S. economy -- last month employers cut jobs for the first time in four years -- has cast doubt over oil demand growth in the world's top consumer.