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OPEC leaves production unchanged

June 8, 2011 at 10:15 PM   |   Comments

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VIENNA, June 8 (UPI) -- The world's largest oil cartel, in a meeting in Vienna, said it could not agree on a production increase, which sent oil prices in New York higher Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, we are unable to reach a consensus at this time to reduce or raise our production," The Wall Street Journal quoted Abdalla alem el-Badri, secretary-general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, as saying.

In a statement before the meeting, Mohammad Aliabadi, acting minister of petroleum of the Islamic Republic of Iran, said the oil market has gone through "a nervous six months."

"Throughout, however, fundamentals have remained sound," Aliabadi said.

Before the meeting Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had said they were willing to raise production. But a consensus wasn't reached.

"This is one of the worst meetings we ever had in OPEC," Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi said afterward. "We were not able to reach an agreement."

Oil prices in New York climbed quickly after the meeting, rising 1.7 percent to $100.70 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Speaking with reporters at the White House Wednesday, press secretary Jay Carney said President Barack Obama is "very concerned about high energy prices, in particular the impact that energy prices have on prices at the gas pump because Americans are struggling to make ends meet and when prices go up at the pump it affects everything they do because of their reliance on cars for transportation to and from work and other places."

Carney said Obama had directed Attorney General Eric Holder to set up a task force to look at possible fraud and manipulation of energy markets.

He also said the administration has been in communication with oil-producing countries "during this time of elevated energy prices."

"We believe that we are in a situation where supply is not meeting demand, and there are a variety of reasons for that, including disruption caused by the situation in Libya, which has removed 1.5 million barrels a day from the market," Carney said.

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