Iran sees crude market 'balanced'
Tehran, December 10, 2011
Iran's Opec governor said on Saturday the oil market was "relatively balanced", indicating the country will not push for any major shift in an Opec ministerial meeting next week.
"The market is relatively balanced ... and my feeling is there is a general sentiment among the Opec members to make a decision based on the real needs of the market," Mohammad Ali Khatibi told Reuters.
Khatibi's comments came days ahead of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna on Wednesday.
Iran, Opec's leading price hawk, said in November it would ask member states to reduce output back to pre-Libya crisis volumes, but it has since backed down from that stance and now appears likely to agree a new production target that legitimises current output of around 30 million barrels a day.
"If there is a real need in the market, an appropriate decision should be made," Khatibi said. "But if there is a surplus of oil supply in the future, a solution should be sought for that."
"The decision should be made on the need of the market. Opec has always sought a balanced market in which there is neither shortage nor surplus."
Talks in last meeting in June broke down in acrimony as members failed to reach consensus over output.
Iran, which holds the Opec rotating presidency, successfully opposed a move led by Saudi Arabia to raise the ceiling but the top exporter went ahead and raised output unilaterally.
Saudi Arabia says it is now pumping at its highest rate for decades.-Reuters