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Ex-oil minister warns OPEC against unilateral output cuts

[KUWAIT CITY] Qatar's veteran former energy minister Abdullah al-Attiyah warned OPEC members on Monday against cutting oil output unilaterally because the cartel has lost its role as the world's swing producer.

"OPEC should not do anything because it is not the swing producer" of the past, Attiyah told reporters in Kuwait City.

"They cannot and will not cut (output) unless the main producers outside OPEC join forces," he said.

Mr Attiyah, who led the energy portfolio in gas- and oil-rich Qatar for about two decades, said OPEC should first reach a binding agreement with non-OPEC producers before cutting production.

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"Otherwise they will lose market share and others will enjoy high prices and produce more," Mr Attiyah said.

He said OPEC and non-OPEC producers were currently in talks to strike a deal ahead of the organisation's meeting early in June.

The days of oil fetching US$100 a barrel are over for the foreseeable future, he said, predicting that prices will settle at between US$60-70.

Global oil prices dipped Monday as investors took their cue from a rebounding dollar, awaited fresh US economic data and digested another Chinese interest rate cut.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for June delivery slid 19 cents to US$59.20 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for June reversed 29 cents to US$65.10 per barrel nearing midday in London.

The market traded mixed Friday as traders weighed the global oversupply and modest demand.

Mr Attiyah estimated at least two million barrels of oversupply of crude in the market at a time when several countries have built the largest stockpile in over 30 years.