Qatar's Energy Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiya said he expects OPEC to decide on an output cut next week to make up for oversupply on the world market, in an interview published on Saturday.
"There is an excess of oil on the market that varies between two and three million barrels per day (bpd)," he told the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat.
"The average price for last month was less than $24 a barrels, and the cut in production aims to stabilise the market and prices while controlling supplies," said Attiya.
However, he said the cut would be less than the excess figure because the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries had already slashed production by 1.5 million bpd from February 1.
"I can not give a precise figure, but the cut will be in line with the market situation," said Attiyah, giving an assurance that "if we see a shortage on the market in the future, we will increase production."
In London, oil prices slouched lower on Friday as the market waited for indications on the size of an output cutback from OPEC, which meets in Vienna on March 16.
A barrel of Brent North Sea crude for April delivery drifted down to $26.47 from $26.68 at the previous close.
"There seems to be a growing consensus that OPEC will cut output between 0.5 and one million barrels per day at the meeting, but there does not seem to be a consensus on what will happen to prices after that," said the GNI brokerage house.—AFP.
(c) –Agence France Presse 2001.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)