VIENNA (AP) — Facing greater oil demand but possessing limited ability to satisfy it, OPEC countries on Wednesday agreed to keep unchanged their output target of 30 million barrels a day.
OPEC Secretary General Abdullah Al-Badry sought to cast the 12 countries' decision in a positive light.
"We have a very comfortable price and the market is very stable," he told reporters after an OPEC meeting in Vienna. "So everybody's happy."
In fact, OPEC's move was in part recognition by the oil cartel that most members will not be able to substantially increase output in the short-term, even if the world's appetite for crude increases as major economies expand and inventories shrink.
The price of oil rose after the OPEC decision, with benchmark Brent North Sea crude for delivery in July climbing 45 cents to $109.97 a barrel in London.
The International Energy Agency, oil consultant to major consuming countries, sees short-term demand rising. But many OPEC members are at their production capacity limits, and there are other problems.
Iran says it can boost output to 4 million barrels a day within months — but remains constrained by sanctions imposed over its nuclear program. Domestic chaos in Libya has reduced its output to less than a quarter of the daily 800,000 barrels it would normally be able to produce. And production from Venezuela and Nigeria has slipped because of economic and political difficulties there.
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