OPEC CHIEF SEES
OPEC's output is set to rebound after tumbling in March, the secretary-general of the oil producers' group said Friday.
Production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries fell in March to its lowest level this year amid Iraqi and Libyan disruptions.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Petrostrategies energy conference, Abdalla Salem el-Badri said that "in the third and fourth quarter, we will increase production."
OPEC, which supplies more than a third of the oil consumed globally each day, said Thursday that its production in March was 400,000 barrels a day below its agreed collective ceiling of 30 million barrels a day. "OPEC will respect" the ceiling, Mr. el-Badri said.
The head of OPEC, himself a former Libyan oil minister, said that Libya would be a likely contributor to the output increase. Following a deal with rebels who had blocked ports in eastern Libya, he said the country's production would rebound to 1 million barrels a day within two months, from 150,000 barrels a day now, security allowing.
As well as disruptions in Libya and Iraq, world energy markets have been rattled by Russia's annexation of Crimea. Russian gas monopoly Gazprom has also threatened to raise the prices it charges Ukraine for gas.
But the head of OPEC said that "the Russians will think twice" about keeping gas supplies. "In the short, medium term, I don't see any interruption."
He also said he didn't expect the U.S. to become a net exporter of crude—and a potential competitor on global markets—because its production of light oils is balanced by its deficit of heavy grades.
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