OPEC seen ignoring West's call to act

LONDON Wed Jun 1, 2011 8:37am EDT

A logo of a petrol station is pictured in front of the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, Austria, October 24, 2008. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer

A logo of a petrol station is pictured in front of the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, Austria, October 24, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Herwig Prammer

LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC is unlikely to bow to western pressure to officially raise oil output at its meeting next week, with members instead expected to act independently of the group, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.

All 13 oil analysts and traders surveyed by Reuters predicted the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would roll over its current output agreement, untouched since the group's record cut in December 2008.

"They will simply sit on the fence with oil back near $100 barrel," said Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodity markets strategy for BNP Paribas.

"Increases in individual production will be discretionary."

Brent crude oil prices climbed above $127 a barrel in April, their highest since the record rally of 2008, as civil war in Libya cut exports.

The West's energy watchdog, the International Energy Agency, has since urged producers to boost supplies to help lower fuel costs and protect the economic recovery.

OPEC has maintained the market is well-supplied and has not called an emergency meeting. Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members have instead pumped more oil of their own accord.

"Saudi Arabian output has been fluctuating a lot so they are trying to supply outside of the OPEC structure and I don't see that changing," said Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix.

LIBYA QUESTION

Several analysts polled by Reuters said higher output might at some point be formalised by the group, but that this was unlikely in the next meeting given political tensions, including those over Libyan representation.

"I think it will be very difficult to formally change the OPEC quotas with Libya up in the air in addition to all the usual problems within the organisation," said Adam Sieminski, chief energy economist at Deutsche Bank.

The whereabouts of Libya's National Oil Corp head Shokri Ghanem, usually the leader of Libya's OPEC delegation, were unclear. The Libyan rebels' finance and oil minister has also said he hoped to represent the country at the June meeting.

It was also unclear who will represent Nigeria and Iran, which holds the rotating one-year OPEC presidency.

Most analysts said there would be no immediate price impact if targets remained unchanged but added that this could be bullish in the medium to long term.

"The market could be more prone to price shocks and volatility. The geopolitical risk premium was nearly wiped out in May," said Andrey Kryuchenkov of VTB Capital.

Reuters surveyed the following banks, consultants and brokerages: Centre for Global Energy Studies, Facts Global Energy, Capital Economics, Global Insight, Petromatrix, Bache Commodities, VTB Capital, BNP Paribas, LLBW, Deutsche Bank, Blue Ocean Brokerage, Global Risk Management, Marex Financial.

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