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Sun 30 Aug 2009 10:38 PM

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Qatar's Attiyah says OPEC likely to keep output steady

UPDATE 1: Last year, OPEC agreed to cut output by roughly 5% of daily world demand.

Qatar's Oil Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah said on Sunday that OPEC was likely to keep oil production targets unchanged when it next meets in September."In my opinion, OPEC will not change the situation," he told Reuters by telephone.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), supplier of more than a third of the world's oil, is due to meet on September 9 in Vienna to set policy.

Last year, OPEC agreed to cut output by 4.2 million bpd, which is equal to about 5 percent of daily world demand, from its output levels to prop up slumping prices. OPEC has kept output targets steady to date this year.

"We will discuss everything, the uncertainty of the world economy, high stock levels...," Attiyah said.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said stocks in developed countries stood at around 61.7 days of forward cover at the end of June, around 10 days more than OPEC considers comfortable.

Output discipline has declined from a record level of 80 percent early this year to 71 percent of promised curbs in July as rising oil prices and the prospect of recovering demand may be encouraging members to pump out extra barrels, analysts said.

US crude for October settled at $72.74 a barrel on Friday, close to the $75 that OPEC countries, including top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, have said is needed for investment in future energy supplies. (Reuters)

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