VIENNA, June 12 (UPI) -- There's a substantial surplus of oil on the international market, which is in part to blame for slumping crude oil prices, the Iraqi oil minister said.
Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meet this week in Vienna to discuss market conditions ahead of a July deadline for an Iranian crude oil embargo and a sluggish European economy.
Oil prices, after reaching historic highs in the early part of the year, have retreated to less than $100 per barrel on most indexes.
Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi told Bloomberg News from Vienna that markets were oversupplied.
"It is very clear that there are tremendous surplus quantities that led to this severe decline in the prices," he said.
Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq make up the top three in terms of oil production among OPEC member states. Riyadh has consistently pumped more crude oil this year as Western allies shun Iranian crude amid sanctions pressure.
OPEC production as of April reached 31.6 million barrels per day, more than 1 million barrels above the current production ceiling.
Luaibi said there would be no talks in Vienna about individual production quotas.
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