November 1, 2011 / 9:06 AM / in 8 years

UPDATE 3-Iran says oil over $100 a barrel is good

* Iran, al-Badri say oil price good, comfortable

* Follows UAE saying price could come down

* Debate starts ahead of December meeting

By Ramin Mostafavi

TEHRAN, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Iran is happy with current oil prices above $100 a barrel, its oil minister said on Tuesday, despite warnings from the West on the impact on the world economy and a preference for softer prices from fellow OPEC producers in the Gulf.

OPEC, which controls a third of global oil production, will meet in December for the first time since June, when its meeting broke down after Gulf producers failed to convince other members to lift production to compensate for the loss of Libyan output.

“The current oil prices are good ... we are not expecting the prices to change in winter,” Iran’s oil minister Rostam Qasemi told an oil conference.

“Before the (December) meeting, we will try to hold talks with other members to reach consensus on maintaining the OPEC production ceiling, especially now that Libyan crude has been resumed,” he added.

OPEC’s Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri, with a conciliatory role between price hawks such as Iran and Venezuela and the more reserved Gulf producers, also attended the conference.

“The price of $100 is comfortable for the consumer and the producing countries ...the crude price is not expected to come down until the end of this year,” he said.

“I am hopeful that there will be an agreement over OPEC’s production target in the next meeting,” al-Badri told reporters.

Iran along with African producers and Venezuela, blocked a Saudi-led proposal to increase output targets at OPEC’s last meeting on June 8, but Saudi Arabia boosted output unilaterally afterwards — a move which Tehran criticised.

OPEC oil output fell in October as reduced supplies from Iraq, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Angola offset rising Libyan supply, according to a Reuters survey.

The United Arab Emirates said on Monday oil producers can tolerate a further fall in oil prices to $80-$100 a barrel.

“For us it is very important to see a reasonable us a price that is around $80-$100, that is reasonable,” said UAE Oil Minister Mohammed bin Dhaen al-Hamli.

The West’s energy watchdog, the International Energy Agency, to warn on Monday that OPEC should not cut output at its December meeting because the demand its oil will grow by half a million barrels per day in 2012 above the group’s September output.

Brent was trading at $107 a barrel on Tuesday, $20 short of the peak for 2011 and $40 short of an all-time high reached in 2008.

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