* OPEC set to keep 30 mln bpd output target
* Iran wants supply to be reduced in line with target
* Cartel says pumping 30.8 mln bpd, Saudi trims to 9.5 mbpd
* OPEC experts see H1 2013 OPEC demand at only 29.25 mbpd
* Badri likely to stay in sec-gen post for another 6 months
By Alex Lawler and Reem Shamseddine
VIENNA, Dec 11 OPEC oil exporters on Tuesday
were set to avoid a quarrel about how much crude they produce
and argue instead about who should be the group's next
Oil prices are roughly where OPEC wants them - comfortably
above $100 a barrel - but there is deadlock over who should be
the new public face of the organization.
At a meeting in Vienna on Wednesday the 12-member
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is expected
without fuss to retain its 30 million barrel a day (bpd) output
target for the first six months of 2013.
"Thirty million barrels, it's OK," said Angolan Oil Minister
Jose de Vasconcelos. "I think we will stay at this level."
"As long as there is demand there is no need to change,"
said the Mohammed al-Hamli, oil minister for the United Arab
Emirates, which is normally aligned on oil policy with leading
producer Saudi Arabia.
Iran, often among the most hawkish in OPEC on price, said it
was satisfied with a market now near $108 a barrel for Brent
crude. "The market situation is good right now, relatively
balanced. The price is OK for the moment, it's not too high,"
said Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi.
Still, Tehran says it will ask OPEC to rein back supply in
line with the official 30-million-bpd target.
"Iran's first request from OPEC members will be returning to
agreed commitments regarding production limits," Iranian oil
ministry spokesman Alireza Nikzad-Rahbar said.
That remark was likely aimed at Saudi Arabia which lifted
supply earlier in the year to replace the one-million-bpd drop
caused by Western sanctions against Iran for its nuclear
programme. Riyadh would be expected to cut first in the event
prices take a dive.
Recognizing that crude demand growth is slowing as the
global economy stalls again, Saudi has already moved to trim
In its submission to an OPEC report released on Tuesday,
Saudi said it cut output to 9.5 million bpd in November having
topped a 30-year high over 10 million bpd in the summer. That
helped reduce overall OPEC November output to 30.8 million bpd.
OPEC's maths suggest the group is pumping much more than
world markets need in the first half of next year, pointing to a
substantial stockbuild and the possibility of a fall in prices.
The cartel's economists assess demand for OPEC crude in the
first half of 2013 at 29.25 million bpd, implying a 1.5 million
bpd stockbuild during that period on the 90 million bpd world
market, assuming OPEC rates of supply continue as now.
"While prices are in the comfort zone there is little
appetite for over-analysing the fundamentals even if there is a
little too much oil," said Bill Farren-Price of Petroleum Policy
While agreement on output policy looks straightforward, a
decision on who to appoint secretary-general does not.
Candidates from Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia are competing to
replace the 72-year old Libyan Abdullah al-Badri, in the job for
the past 5 years, but as has happened before in the election for
the post, there is stalemate.
That means, said OPEC delegates, that Badri likely will be
asked to stay in the job for another 6 months.
"This is a difficult situation," said Iraqi oil minister
Abdul Kareem Luaibi. "It is dangerous for the future of the
organization. This condition might affect the oil markets."
The candidates are Saudi Arabia's OPEC governor Majid
Al-Moneef, former Iranian oil minister Gholam Hossein Nozari and
Thamir Ghadhban the energy adviser to Iraq's prime minister.
(Additional reporting by Amena Bakr, Peg Mackey, Emma Farge.
Editing by Richard Mably and William Hardy)