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OPEC president: We'll wait and watch the market

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has decided to keep policy unchanged and wait to see future market fluctuations, its president has told CNBC.

OPEC President Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, also Nigeria's oil minister, told CNBC that the oil group has decided to focus on an output ceiling of 31.5 million barrels per day, rather than any official quota, which had until recently been set at 30 million barrels per day.

"(31.5 million bpd) is the actual production level, we did not go into the semantics of calling it the official or the nonofficial," he said at the sidelines of the OPEC meeting in Vienna.

Oil prices were set on a wild ride with conflicting reports earlier in the day on whether it had decided to roll over its policy of maintaining crude production in order to retain market share.


Ibe Kachikwu confirmed after Friday's six-hour meeting that the oil group had decided to "stay where we are and watch the market a little bit more." He added that he hoped that OPEC would be able to "come to a point of landing in terms of what we need to do" soon and highlighted that the next meeting for the group would be on June 2, 2016.

He rejected claims that OPEC was now divided over policy going forward with some members openly calling for a cut in production in the wake of tumbling oil prices since June 2014.

"We had a lot of coffee, we spent a lot of good time. I shook a lot of hands," he told CNBC. "We are more unified now then we were going into the meeting, frankly."

He also said the group had little concern about further falls in the price of the commodity and said there was no fear regarding overproduction. He added, however, that there would be a lot of possible "triggers" that could force OPEC to meet before the scheduled June date.

Oil prices fell on Friday after OPEC agreed to roll over its policy of maintaining crude production. Internationally traded Brent was down 47 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $43.37 at 11:44 a.m. EDT (1644 GMT), having fallen earlier this week to a low of $42.43, within cents of August's 6½-year trough.

OPEC had been widely expected to stick with its year-old policy, despite pressure from poorer members of the cartel for a cut in output to prop up the price of oil. OPEC sources had earlier told Reuters it had agreed to raise its output ceiling to 31.5 million bpd at its meeting in Vienna, in what appeared to be an effective acknowledgement of existing production. The official statement did not mention a target production level.

— Reuters contributed to this report.