The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will likely keep its official flow of oil steady when its meets Sept. 11 in Vienna, despite concerns that already high prices will spike when winter demand increases.
"Currently enough oil is in the market," Acting Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said, according to the official IRNA news agency. "Our efforts are for OPEC to keep its current (production) ceiling."
OPEC sets supply limits for 10 of its 12 member oil producing countries, and market watchers widely expect it to maintain the supply output, decided at the group’s previous meeting in March, of 25.8 million barrels a day.
The oil cartel has come under increasing pressure recently by the International Energy Agency (IEA), an advisor to 26 industrialized nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) region, to provide relief to what it sees as a rapidly tightening oil market this winter.
Near record crude oil prices are sending a message to OPEC that the world is very tight, Nobuo Tanaka, the new head of the IEA, told Reuters on Sep. 5. And the IEA said in its last oil market report that world oil demand is likely to outpace supply this winter as heating oil demand in North America ramps up.
But OPEC officials have rebuffed the IEA's calls for more supply, saying crude supply is ample and they are not to blame for shortages of refined fuel and political tension.
"There will be no increase in productions as supply and demand are in balance and the market is not suffering from any shortages," Qatar's energy minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said at the sidelines of a conference on gas in Doha on Sep. 4, AFP reported.
Only Indonesia, OPEC's second-smallest producer has voiced a proposal for an increase
Closing in on the August Record
Oil prices neared the Aug. 1 record high of $78.77 a barrel last week, as investors weighed OPEC’s reluctance to boost supplies. Recent U.S. fuel inventory data has shown a decrease in both crude and gasoline production.