May 31 (Bloomberg) -- OPEC is aligned on keeping its oil-output ceiling unchanged for a third time, judging there is a comfortable balance between demand and supply, four nations said as they headed into the group’s meeting in Vienna.
“We think there is a consensus for a rollover,” Venezuela’s Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters. Ministers from Algeria and Ecuador and Kuwait’s top oil official made similar comments just before the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries started its closed-door talks. Saudi Arabia’s Petroleum Minister Ali al-Naimi said prices are “reasonable” and he’s “comfortable” with the output target.
OPEC, which accounts for about 40 percent of global oil supply, is meeting in the Austrian capital today to determine production policy. The 12-nation group is pumping more than its current target of 30 million barrels a day, putting pressure on Brent, which is used to price more than half the world’s crude. The grade has lost 8.5 percent this year and traded near $102 a barrel today.
The OPEC basket price, which represents the group’s export crudes, stood at $99.77 a barrel yesterday, according to OPEC’s website, and has averaged about $106 so far this year. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, is trading at about $93.
“The market situation is excellent, demand and supply are in good shape, inventories are moderate,” said al-Naimi, minister for the group’s largest member and world’s biggest crude exporter.
Kuwait’s OPEC Governor Siham Razzouqi and Pedro Merizalde, Ecuador’s minister of non-renewable natural resources said they expect the group to maintain its current ceiling. Algeria’s Minister of Energy and Mines Youcef Yousfi said OPEC will have no difficulty agreeing on a rollover.
“The situation is stable between supply and demand, the situation is comfortable for both producers and consumers,” said Mohammed al-Sada, Qatar’s energy and industry minister.
The group will decide on its replacement for Secretary-General Abdalla El-Badri at its next meeting later this year and will use today’s meeting to agree on the criteria for the job, El-Badri told reporters.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at firstname.lastname@example.org