The oil market is well balanced with no shortage of supplies, OPEC's president said on Thursday, the latest comment by the producer group implying it will maintain output curbs at its meeting next week.
"I think the market is very well balanced," said Mohammed bin Dhaen al-Hamli, who is also oil minister of the United Arab Emirates, in Dalian for a World Economic Forum meeting.
"There is no shortage whatsoever of oil supplies," he told Reuters in an interview, adding that any extra supplies from OPEC would just go into stockpiles.
Comments from other OPEC members also suggest the group will probably maintain output curbs at its meeting on Sept. 11 in Vienna, because of abundant inventories and nagging worries over the global economy.
OPEC is resisting pressure from consumer nations who want the group to open up the taps with U.S. oil prices (CLc1) over $76 a barrel, nearing an Aug. 1 record of $78.77, and with peak
winter demand approaching.
"If you think prices are high in nominal terms, in real terms they are almost close to what they were in the 1970s," said Hamli.
However, an OPEC source said on Tuesday the group may need to boost crude oil output by up to 1 million barrels per day (bpd) later in 2007, perhaps in December, should demand prove
robust and inventories fall.
Hamli said OPEC was ready to supply more if the market needed it. He told Reuters in July -- a week after Brent crude hit an 11-month high of $78.40 -- that OPEC was concerned about higher prices because the group did not want to see a recession.