OPEC to Keep Quotas as Oil Hits $100 Soon, Libya Says

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will keep its production quotas unchanged as oil gets ready to hit $100 a barrel, Shokri Ghanem, chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corp., said.

OPEC, which is scheduled to gather Dec. 11 in Quito, Ecuador, will probably agree to a quota rollover and will focus on discussing compliance during this meeting, Ghanem said today at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. The price of oil will increase to $100 “pretty soon,” and once that happens OPEC may alter its production strategy, he said.

“We’ve had output unchanged now since December 2008 and I think if we breach $100 next year we could see some relaxation in the quota,” Ghanem said before boarding the plane that will take him to the Ecuadorian capital.

Crude oil futures rose 3.3 percent last month on the New York Mercantile Exchange and exceeded $90 a barrel on Dec. 7 for the first time in two years. Ali al-Naimi, oil minister for Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer, said Nov. 1 that crude-importing countries are happy with prices between $70 and $90 a barrel, a higher range than the spread of $70 to $80 he cited previously.

OPEC’s 12 members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Iraq is exempt from the quota system.

To contact the reporters on this story: Fred Pals in Amsterdam at fpals@bloomberg.net; Juan Pablo Spinetto in Quito at jspinetto@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net; Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net.