Delegates from the 12-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries at their regular December meeting in Ecuador left production quotas set in 2008 unchanged. Oil prices, meanwhile, have rebounded from recession-era lows of less than $50 per barrel to more than $90 per barrel in recent trading.
Kuwaiti Oil Minister Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah said oil priced $80-$100 per barrel was acceptable. Oil priced at $100 was likely, he said, but "it depends on the market," the Financial Times quoted him as saying.
Iran, which took over at the rotating OPEC presidency this year, said the oil market was balanced. Iran has the authority to call extraordinary meetings for OPEC members but has long favored the $100 benchmark.
The rise in oil prices is attributed in part to rising gasoline prices, with a former Shell executive predicting $5 per gallon for U.S. consumers. Gasoline soared to more than $7 per gallon for British drivers this week.