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Mon 9 Mar 2009 12:16 PM

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OPEC to slash 2009 demand forecast by 1m bpd

Oil price "not really acceptable" but reasonable amid current woes - OPEC official.

OPEC will consider cutting output again at its March 15 meeting as it looks to counter downward pressure on oil prices from falling demand, the group's secretary general said on Monday.

Abdullah Al Badri has previously said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which pumps more than a third of the world's oil, may lower supply further when it meets in Vienna.

"All options are on the table," he told reporters on the sidelines of an energy conference in Qatar when asked if OPEC would deepen existing supply curbs.

OPEC will slash its 2009 demand forecast by one million barrels per day (bpd) in a monthly report due on Friday, Badri said. OPEC's demand estimate is key to the ministers' decision on how much oil to pump.

Demand for OPEC's oil was down 1.9 million barrels per day from last year, Badri said.

"We expect to continue to see downward pressure on prices," Badri said earlier in a speech.

The oil price was unacceptably low for OPEC but could have been worse given the deteriorating economy, Badri told reporters.

"The price is not really acceptable to us," Badri said. "But given the economic crisis it is OK."

US crude has fallen over $100 a barrel from a peak last July near $150 a barrel as the slowing world economy burns less oil.

OPEC, supplier of more than a third of the world's oil, has pledged to cut around 5 percent of global supply since September to stem the price fall.

The cuts had stabilised the market, Badri said. Compliance with pledged supply reductions among OPEC members stood at around 85 percent, he said. (Reuters)

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