( dpa ) - Oil ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are unlikely to increase production quotas at their upcoming meeting on Friday in Vienna.
Across the board ministers from the 13 cartel members suggested an increase in supply was not necessary, as markets were well supplied.
Data available to OPEC members did not indicate an oil shortage, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussaine Al-Shahristani told Deutsche Presse- Agentur dpa.
Current high oil prices were the result of speculators, not of market forces, he added. Consequently, the minister said he saw no need to increase production.
Al-Shahrisani's views were echoed by Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al- Naimi, who was quoted as saying that market fundamentals were currently sound. Being OPEC's largest producer, Saudi Arabia de-facto dominates the group.
Chakib Khelil of Algeria, currently OPEC's president, reiterated the cartel's viewpoint that an increase in crude supply would not help boost the global economy at this point.
The 13-member cartel, which accounts for more than 40 per cent of the global oil supply, is expected to keep its output quota stable at 29.67 million barrels a day amid worries about a global recession.
In that case, OPEC may not rule out a further curb in production, analysts said, as an economic slowdown is expected to reduce demand for oil.
The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday revised its forecast for the 2008 global growth rate down 0.3 per to 4.1 per cent from its previous estimate, mainly due to the US economic slowdown.
OPEC's oil ministers are however expected to weigh any decision very carefully, still haunted by a move in 1998 in Jakarta to boost supply, when a few weeks later a crash of Asian markets sent oil prices spiralling downwards.
Since 2001, when a barrel on average stood at 23 dollars, OPEC crude prices have nearly quadrupled.
OPEC crude prices hovered just below the 90-dollar-mark ahead of Friday's meeting after several days of rising prices.
US oil prices, topping 100 dollars a barrel on January 3, declined to around 92 dollars by the end of this week.
Declining stockpiles in OECD nations were seen as the main culprit for US oil prices breaking the 100-dollar threshold, combined with market speculation.
OPEC members are expected to hold another meeting on March 5 in Vienna.