OPEC to keep oil gushing, fails to agree ceiling

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VIENNA: Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided on Thursday (Friday in Manila) to keep oil gushing after a moderate recovery in the crude eased the pressure to limit output, with Saudi Arabia saying the cartel is “very satisfied” with the market.

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A final statement from the OPEC after a meeting in Vienna made clear that the 13-nation group had not set a new output target.

It said that since its last meeting in December, “crude oil prices have risen by more than 80 percent, supply and demand is converging and oil and producer stock levels in the OECD have recently shown moderation.”

This was echoed by kingpin Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, newly appointed by the kingdom’s dynamic new deputy crown prince, expressing confidence that the recovery in the oil prices would continue.

“Everybody is very satisfied with the market. The market is rebalancing as we speak,” said Khaled al-Falih said at the start of the bi-annual gathering.

Traditionally OPEC, which pumps around a third of the world’s oil, has cut production to boost falling prices.

But in the most recent drop, tumbling from over $100 in 2014 to close to $25 in January, OPEC—driven by Riyadh—has changed tack, keeping oil flowing to maintain market share and squeeze competitors.

It has taken some time—straining even Saudi Arabia’s finances, to say nothing of on-the-brink OPEC member Venezuela—but the tactic now appears to be working at last. AFP

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