OPEC expects world oil demand to climb by 1.4 mm bpd this year

Feb 08, 2001 01:00 AM

OPEC Secretary-General Ali Rodriguez said that OPEC expects world oil demand to climb by 1.4 mm bpd in 2001. Asked if he was concerned that high oil prices would hurt demand, Rodriguez said, "According to our analysis and our forecasts this year the demand will be increased by about 1.4 mm bpd.
"At this price level we can maintain stability in the market, we can maintain the investment for exploration and production and refining," he told. The group will meet again on March 16. The former Venezuelan oil minister said OPEC was sticking to its price target of $ 22-$ 28 a barrel for its basket of crudes.
Asked if OPEC would remain committed to its target price range despite the slowing world economy and the coming summer months of weaker demand, Rodriguez said, "For the time being we have a normal level of the price... I hope that in the rest of the year the price will be within that band of $ 22 and $ 28." "That's a very good level both for consumers and producers," he said.
The 11-membergroup last year set a $ 22-$ 28 per barrel price target but many members want that level raised after the basket averaged $ 27.55 per barrel in 2000, just below the ceiling. Price hawk Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he did not want world prices to fall from last year's level, when they averaged their highest in 17 years.

Despite complaints from the United States and Europe that high oil prices were hurting economic growth, he said current prices, about $ 2.50 per barrel below last year's average, were not high enough. OPEC cut global supplies by 1.5 mm bpd from February 1 to stem a price fall despite concerns in the United States and Europe that supply curbs could keep prices high and damage their economies.
Rodriguez said that OPEC is ready to make more "drastic" production cuts to defend prices. But Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi has said the oil price is reasonable and there was no need for fresh OPEC action at this time.
OPEC President and Algerian Energy Minister Chakib Khelil said there was no need for OPEC to reduce or hike output because of what he called the current "stable" crude prices. He said OPEC wants a price of $ 25 a barrel in the medium term.

Source: Al Nisr Publishing LLC
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