* OPEC set to leave 30 million bpd output ceiling as is
* Oil firm above $100 all year to date
* Saudi oil minister yet to arrive in Vienna
(Adds Saudi comment paragraph 5)
By Alex Lawler and Rania El Gamal
VIENNA, June 10 An oil price comfortably over
$100 a barrel leaves smiling OPEC ministers with an easy task to
leave things as they are on output policy at their Wednesday
Brent crude has stayed above that price, the
preferred level of top OPEC producer Saudi Arabia, all year and
was trading near $110 on Tuesday, supported by the almost total
loss of supplies from OPEC member Libya.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which
pumps more than a third of the world's oil, is meeting in Vienna
to agree policy for the second half of the year. Ministers have
said they will leave the output target of 30 million barrels per
day (bpd) unchanged, and that the market is well-supplied.
"The price is good. Brent is $110, it is not bad," said
Angolan Oil Minister Jose de Vasconcelos.
Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi was not expected in
Vienna until the morning of the meeting itself, but told the
Saudi Press Agency oil prices were suitable for producers,
consumers and the oil industry alike and the group was unlikely
to make any decision on the oil market situation on Wednesday.
Naimi's view echoed his very direct comments to reporters
late last month in Seoul.
"There is no reason for a change. Absolutely no reason,"
OPEC's most infuential minister had said then.
Riyadh kept production little changed in May, pumping 9.705
million barrels per day, according to industry sources,
supporting Naimi's view that the market did not need more.
OPEC has steered a course around the loss of over a million
barrels per day of oil from Libya, as the crisis there deepened
to its worst since the civil war three years ago.
Oil Minister Omar Shakmak said on his arrival in Vienna that
output had fallen below 200,000 bpd, a fraction of Libya's 1.6
million bpd before the conflict.
He at least welcomed the oil price.
"This is positive for the market, it's for the benefit of
producers and customers alike," Shakmak said.
OPEC's sanguine view of supply will run into a seasonal rise
in demand later in the year, underpinned by signs of some global
OPEC itself has raised the demand for its crude for the year
to 29.76 million bpd, snugly inside its ceiling but the
International Energy Agency, representing the United States and
leading industrialized oil consumers, sees a tighter fit of
around 30 million bpd.
The IEA in its May report said oil prices remained
"elevated" and market balances called for a "significant rise"
in OPEC production from current levels for the second half of
As well as unrest in Libya, western sanctions on Iran have
also cut OPEC supplies, but output recovered in May close to the
30 million bpd target as extra barrels from Iraq and Angola
helped offset the unplanned reductions.
"With the current low price volatility, OPEC has no
incentive to change anything when it also has to deal with the
uncertainty of Libya and Iran," said Olivier Jakob, oil analyst
(Additional reporting by Peg Mackey and Georgina Prodhan,
editing by Veronica Brown and William Hardy.)