OPEC sees no need to meet, supply ample: delegate

LONDON Wed Mar 9, 2011 7:11am EST

LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC sees no need at present to hold an emergency meeting to discuss raising its oil output, because supply is adequate, an OPEC delegate said on Wednesday following informal consultations among members.

The 12-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has been talking about whether it needs to meet due to rising prices and the loss of Libyan supplies. The group believes that supply is adequate, said the delegate, who declined to be identified.

"There have been consultations and we don't see a need to meet at the moment," the delegate said.

Brent crude oil rose on Wednesday by 79 cents to $113.27 a barrel as of 11132 GMT. Oil prices had fallen on Tuesday after Kuwait's oil minister said OPEC was in talks about boosting supplies and holding an early meeting.

OPEC's next scheduled meeting to review output policy is in June. Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri has been speaking to member countries to find out whether they believed an earlier meeting was warranted.

According to the OPEC statute, an extraordinary meeting may be convened at the request of a member country by the secretary general, after consultation with the president and approval by a simple majority of members.

'NO SHORTAGE'

OPEC's rotating presidency is held this year by Iran, which on Tuesday downplayed speculation of more OPEC oil and said "no concrete decision" had been made on whether to hold a meeting.

"There is no shortage in the market," Iranian OPEC governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi told Reuters. Iran is OPEC's second-largest producer and its leading price hawk.

The fighting in Libya has shut down about two-thirds of the oil output in Africa's third-largest producer. The OPEC member normally pumps 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) of high-quality oil, or about 2 percent of world output.

While OPEC has not changed its formal output policy for more than two years, its members have been boosting actual supply for months in response to rising oil prices and demand.

Top world exporter Saudi Arabia has offered extra supplies to replace lost Libyan barrels and said on Tuesday it had developed a "special mix" of crude close in quality to the supplies lost.

Oil traders and analysts have been skeptical that Saudi Arabia is able to pump enough oil of similar quality to Libya's high-quality crude supplies.

Saudi Arabia has raised its output to 9 million barrels per day (bpd), almost 1 million bpd more than its OPEC target.

Some other OPEC members, such as Nigeria, are expected to provide smaller increases in coming weeks.

(Editing by Will Hardy and Jane Baird)