* OPEC keeps production target unchanged
* Iraq, Iran and Libya plan to raise output
* Lower US crude stocks support WTI
* Coming up: US 3Q GDP data due at 1330 GMT
By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen
SINGAPORE, Dec 5 Brent crude edged lower towards
$111 a barrel on Thursday, after OPEC agreed to renew a
collective oil production cap and some members talked about
raising output next year.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
agreed on Wednesday to keep its production target unchanged at
30 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first half of 2014.
The cap came as Iraq and Iran, the group's second and third
biggest producers, also made it clear they had no interest in
contributing to any collective cut next year.
"OPEC decided to keep its production ceiling unchanged,
despite lots of market talk about a supply glut in 2014. That
could add pressure on Brent," said Victor Shum, vice-president
of energy consultancy IHS Energy Insight.
Brent crude for January delivery was 27 cents lower
at $111.61 a barrel at 0354 GMT. It lost 74 cents the previous
session, after first breaking past $113 a barrel to its highest
since Sept. 12, then falling back after the OPEC agreement.
U.S. crude was 14 cents higher at $97.34 a barrel,
after gaining more than 5 percent over the past four sessions.
Oil investors will keep a close eye on U.S. third quarter
GDP numbers due at 1330 GMT and the November jobs report due
Friday for signs of improvement in the world's largest economy.
Data on Wednesday showed U.S. private employers added
215,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, the biggest increase
in a year, leading to speculation payrolls could also be upbeat
and perhaps prompt the Federal Reserve to start curbing its bond
buying programme at its next meeting Dec. 17-18.
The Fed's monetary stimulus has helped improve liquidity and
supported risk-assets such as oil and other commodities.
While OPEC's decision to keep its production target was
widely expected, Wednesday's meeting in Vienna revealed the
group could face problems agreeing on a production cut next year
should it be needed. Members Iraq, Iran and Libya plan to raise
output regardless, they said.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Iran will bring
back production once sanctions are lifted, following an interim
deal. He also named seven Western oil majors Iran would want
back and said Tehran would outline investment terms in April
"Under any circumstances we will reach 4 million bpd even if
the price falls to $20 a barrel," said Zanganeh. "We will not
give up on our rights on this issue."
Adding pressure on Brent, Libya's oil minister said he hopes
to reopen all oil ports blocked by protests over political and
financial demands on Dec. 10, and resume full production about a
U.S. crude rose more than a dollar overnight after the
country's crude stockpiles dropped for the first time in 11
Data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed
crude stocks fell 5.6 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 29,
cutting around one-sixth of the 36 million barrels that had
built up over the previous 10 weeks.
(Editing by Tom Hogue)