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Kuwait says Opec has no choice but to keep oil production target

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Opec has no plans for an extraordinary meeting to discuss ways to shore up oil prices and doesn't have a choice but to keep its crude production unchanged to maintain market share, Kuwait Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair said.

[KUWAIT] Opec has no plans for an extraordinary meeting to discuss ways to shore up oil prices and doesn't have a choice but to keep its crude production unchanged to maintain market share, Kuwait Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair said.

If other producers want to cut supply, "we will be very happy," al-Omair said in Kuwait City. No "serious" requests have come from Opec members to hold early talks so "accordingly the next meeting will be in June," he said.

Opec producer Algeria is seeking to coordinate a global response from outside the group to tumbling prices, Algeria Press Service reported March 17, citing Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi. Crude has lost half its value since June as US producers pumped oil at the fastest pace since 1983 and Opec decided on Nov 27 to maintain output. Prices stand to rebound by the end of 2015 on signs of economic growth, Mr al-Omair said.

"Undoubtedly what we agreed on in November 2014 still stands," Mr al-Omair said. "We are looking for several factors to come into play that could determine the level of prices including the production levels of non-Opec countries and rates of demand." Brent crude, a benchmark for more than half of the world's oil, dropped 1.4 per cent to $55.12 a barrel today on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

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Opec, which supplies about 40 per cent of the world's crude, pumped 30.6 million barrels a day in February, exceeding its target of 30 million barrels for a ninth-consecutive month, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Non-Opec supply has grown by 6 million barrels a day since 2008 while production by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has remained at about 30 million barrels, Opec Secretary-General Abdalla El-Badri said at a conference in Manama, Bahrain, on March 9.

Algeria's oil minister met with his Angolan counterpart and Nigeria's ambassador to Algiers to discuss an initiative by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to increase dialogue between oil exporters, members and non-members of Opec, and to restore balance to the oil market.

As part of Bouteflika's initiative, messages have been sent since last month to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia, Colombia, Nigeria, Gabon, Angola, Congo and Equatorial Guinea, APS said. Bouteflika earlier on Monday discussed the oil price decline with Borge Brende, the foreign minister of non-Opec producer Norway, APS said.

The oil-price decline won't affect Kuwaiti investment plans to boost crude output capacity to 4 million barrels a day from 3.2 million barrels a day, Hashem Hashem, chief executive officer of state-run Kuwait Oil Co, said at the same conference.

Kuwait is in a "critical situation" because crude oil accounts for 94 per cent of the Persian Gulf nation's revenue, Mr al-Omair said at the time.

Mr Al-Omair met with Russia's Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka in Kuwait City, and signed a protocol to boost cooperation in oil investment and technology.

BLOOMBERG

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