18 May 2007 - 13:02
  • News Code: 104909
OPEC: No Oil Supply Boost Before Summer

BALI, Indonesia -- OPEC doesn"t see a need to boost oil supplies before the summer and will maintain its view that global oil markets are amply stocked, a top official from the group said Thursday.

"There"s no need for us to do more," Abdulla Salem el-Badri, secretary-general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview.

 

His remarks are the latest sign that OPEC wants to see crude oil stocks being drawn down more as a way to shore up prices.

 

El-Badri said U.S. gasoline stock levels are "acceptable" despite the industry"s concern that inventories have fallen too low to meet the usual surge in summer demand. The U.S. driving season unofficially begins with the weekend ahead of Memorial Day, May 28.

 

With the U.S. oil refining sector struggling with a string of technical troubles, gasoline stocks there have fallen well below the 210 million-barrel mark that analysts say will be needed to maintain the market through the summer.

 

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday that gasoline stocks increased by 1.7 million barrels to 195.2 million barrels, but remained well below the average for this time of year.

 

Light, sweet crude for June delivery added 10 cents to $62.65 a barrel in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, July Brent crude rose 27 cents to $68.24 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

 

El-Badri is in the Indonesian resort island of Bali for two days of talks with consumer nations led by the International Energy Agency, the Paris-based energy watchdog of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

 

The discussions will be about the oil demand outlook in Asia rather than OPEC policy, he said, a reference to repeated calls by the IEA for OPEC to take the lead in supplying more crude.

 

The 12-member group currently pumps just over 30 million barrels a day, about 40 percent of global needs, according to Dow Jones Newswires estimates.

 

El-Badri also said it"s too early to talk about the agenda for OPEC"s next meeting, as members aren"t scheduled to convene until Sept. 11 in Vienna.

 

"A significant rise in OPEC output appears unlikely to us at current prices," analysts at investment bank Barclays Capital, led by Paul Horsnell, warned in an overnight research report. "Without that increase, we expect the market to overheat in the second half of the year."

 

 

PIN/AP

News Code 104909

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