No oil crisis ahead, Qatari minister tells Paris

20th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

Qatari minister says too "early" to predict OPEC oil decision in June

Qatari minister says too "early" to predict OPEC oil decision in June

PARIS, April 20 (AFP) - Qatari Energy Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said Wednesday that the global oil market was "well-balanced", adding it was premature to say what the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries would do at its next meeting in June.

"It's an early stage to say what OPEC will decide in June," Attiyah said at a news conference in Paris.

"The market is well-balanced," he said, noting that OPEC members "have the highest inventories since 2002 - there is more oil in the market than we expected".

Commenting on an announcement Monday by the OPEC president, Kuwaiti oil minister Sheikh Ahmed Fahd al-Sabah, that the cartel would increase oil output by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) in May to meet growth in demand in the third quarter, Attiyah said that he had not been contacted on the matter.

"The president of OPEC will consult and make phone calls before any decision and I haven't received yet his call," the Qatari minister said.

OPEC ministers raised output by 500,000 bpd to 27.5 million barrels when they met last month in the Iranian city of Isfahan and authorised the cartel's chief to call for another similar increase if needed.

Almost all OPEC members, however, are producing well in excess of the official ceiling to the point that actual output on the market is already above 28 million bpd.

Ministers of the 11-state cartel are to meet June 15 to decide whether to raise the official output quota.

Attiyah played down any risk of an emerging oil crisis.

"I believe there is no shortage of supply, the world will not face another shock. We will never see again a long queue in gas stations. I'm convinced there is more oil in the market" than generally thought, he said.

The price of crude, after reaching record highs of USD 58 (EUR 44) a barrel last week, has seesawed its way back down to USD 50 (EUR 38), indicating the lack of a continuous upward pressure that could pose problems, he said.


Subject: French News

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