UPI Energy Watch

By KRISHNADEV CALAMUR, UPI International Security Editor  |  Sept. 10, 2007 at 12:49 PM
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OPEC hints at keeping production steady

A day ahead of their meeting in Vienna, OPEC ministers all but ruled out production increases amid near record-high oil prices.

"There is enough crude in the market," said Gholam Hossein Nozari, Iran’s acting oil minister.

The comments Monday came in Vienna, a day before he was to meet with his colleagues from the 12-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Those comments echo remarks made by acting Kuwaiti Oil Minister Mohammed Abdullah al-Aleem.

"There are no strong justifications for an output increase," he said Sunday.

Sentiments on not exceeding OPEC’s present quota of 25.8 million barrels per day have also been expressed by OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem El-Badri and Libya’s oil minister. But the cartel’s most influential player, Saudi Arabia, has kept mum on the issue.

The cartel argues that since demand for summer gasoline has peaked, there is little incentive for it to increase production. But critics argue that could change if supplies tighten ahead of winter.

OPEC accounts for around 40 percent of global oil production. Oil prices are around $75 per barrel.

Blast in Iran-Turkey pipeline disrupts supplies

Gas supplies from Iran were stopped temporarily because of a blast in the Turkish-Iranian natural gas pipeline, the Anatolia news agency reported.

The news agency quoted the Turkish Petroleum Pipeline Corp., or BOTAS, as saying Monday that the “partial damage" caused the supply of Iranian natural gas to be stopped temporarily.

The blast occurred near Dogubeyazit, Agri province, bordering Iran. Turkish officials told the news agency they were investigating the incident, but noted it could have been caused by a technical fault.

The pipeline, which runs 750 miles from Tabriz, Iran, to Ankara, Turkey, supplies Turkey with gas for domestic consumption. It was inaugurated in 2002 and has a maximum capacity of 495 billion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Department of Energy’s data arm. Average supply levels have been around 150.

There have been previous supply disruptions both technical and sabotage by members of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the EIA says.

India mulls raising gasoline, diesel prices

The Indian government is weighting a proposal to increase gasoline and diesel prices, a top official from a state-run company said Monday.

"The government has to decide," Indian Oil Corp. Chairman Sarthak Behuria said in New Delhi.

The comments were reported by the semi-official Press Trust of India.

The government’s move may be controversial because many of India’s poor rely on the subsidies given to diesel and other fuels that are sold at below cost. But with rising global oil prices, state-run oil companies have been reporting large losses and have urged the government to raise prices.

PTI reported that the government was considering a proposal from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to raise prices in line with the rise in global energy prices.


Closing oil prices, Sept. 10, 4 p.m. London

Brent crude oil: $74.56

West Texas Intermediate crude oil: $76.13


(e-mail: energy@upi.com)

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