OPEC president says oil price has found floor

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices have found a floor around current levels, OPEC President Chakib Khelil told Reuters on Friday.

Algerian Oil Minister and OPEC President Chakib Khelil talks during a closing news conference of 151st Extraordinary Meeting of the OPEC in the western city of Oran December 17, 2008. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

He was asked if he expected the oil price to fall further: “Not really,” he said. “I don’t believe there is any reason for it to fall any further, I don’t see it going lower.”

Asked if he thought OPEC’s Wednesday cut of 2.2 million barrels per day was enough to restore the market to balance, Khelil told Reuters: “I think so -- its 2.2, that’s plenty.

“It will have an effect as soon as the market will see the member countries will be applying all the cuts from January 1.

“I think things will improve as we go from here.”

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He said that some OPEC oil ministers will be able to consult further on the state of the market at an Arab economic and energy summit in Kuwait on January19.

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said that the kingdom will be pumping less oil in January and will be at its new output target in line with the group’s latest cut.

“We will produce whatever the quota says we will,” he told Reuters. When asked if that would be lower, he said: “Of course.”

“We’ll be at what our quota is -- you know we adhere very well.”

Asked when he saw financial and energy markets recovering, Naimi said: “I would be in Vegas if I knew that.”

Reporting by Peg Mackey