OPEC notes role as market stabilizer

OPEC working to balance the market through a six-month production decline agreement.

By Daniel J. Graeber

Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The secretary-general of OPEC said market stability was a primary objective for the production group, but noted the importance of spare capacity.

Mohammad Sansui Barkindo, the secretary-general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, continued his visit with Saudi delegates this week. In Riyadh, he discussed market trajectory with Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, who serves also as the president of the OPEC conference.


During his meetings, Barkindo said Saudi Arabia is a key player and one of the primary movers behind a deal reached in November to erase the glut of oil on the market that dragged oil prices to historic lows last year.

"OPEC's goal is stability of the oil market," he said in a statement.

As its largest producer, Saudi Arabia is the de facto leader of OPEC. According to the latest monthly market report from OPEC, Saudi Arabia is producing less than 10 million barrels per day for the first time in years.

A managed decline agreement that went into place in January calls for a ceiling on production of 32.5 million bpd. So far, compliance with the agreement is about 90 percent.


Libya and Nigeria are two OPEC members exempt from the agreement as they rely on oil revenue to finance the fight against insurgent activity. Iran, meanwhile, is the only member with allowances for a production increase as it looks to regain a market share lost to nuclear-related sanctions.

"Spare capacity is an insurance against shocks," OPEC's secretary-general said.

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