OPEC Oil Supply to Be Constant as Members Cut, Libya Resumes

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will keep production levels stable into early 2012 as some members cut supplies to accommodate the return of exports from Libya, its Secretary-General said.

Nations have reduced output and will continue to do so as Libya boosts crude output to 800,000 barrels a day by the end of the year, from 530,000 a day currently, Abdalla el-Badri said today in an interview in Vienna. OPEC, responsible for about 40 percent of global oil output, will probably keep pumping about 30 million barrels a day for the rest of this year and several months of 2012, he said.

“Some of our member countries are reducing their production to accommodate Libya,” el-Badri said. “As Libyan production comes on, I’m sure our member countries will cut their production accordingly.”

Brent oil futures, trading at about $115 a barrel in London, are unlikely to fall below $100 this year, he said. The ratio of supply to demand in the global oil market is “balanced,” el-Badri said.

OPEC is next due to meet on Dec. 14 for a review of its production quotas. Talks at the group’s last gathering in June collapsed without any agreement on its collective target.

While there is likely to be a more “positive” resolution at the December conference, the next “crucial” meeting for OPEC will be in June, when Libyan output approaches full capacity, he said.

The organization’s spare production capacity is currently at 4 million barrels a day and will rise to 6 million in 2012 as new projects are started, el-Badri said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Grant Smith in London at gsmith52@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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