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Kuwait sees no call for policy change as OPEC eyes balanced market

Kuwait's Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair speaks to the media at the opening of the exhibition of the 2nd Kuwait Oil and Gas Show and Conference in Mishref

By Rania El Gamal

Kuwait said on Monday there were no calls within OPEC to change the oil group’s production policy and that lower output from high-cost producers could support prices in 2016, adding to signs OPEC will keep its strategy of defending market share.

Meanwhile, OPEC forecast in a monthly report that demand for its oil in 2016 would be much higher than previously thought as lower prices curb US shale oil and other rival supply sources, reducing a global surplus.

OPEC last November decided against propping up prices by cutting output, seeking to recover market share taken by higher-cost rival production. While oil is hurting OPEC revenues by trading below $53 a barrel, half its price of June 2014, there are signs lower prices are taming non-OPEC supply.

“Today there are no ideas or demands from the member states to make any big change in OPEC’s decision,” Kuwait Oil Minister Ali al-Omair told reporters, referring to OPEC’s move of November 2014.

“Today there are indications that a lot of high-cost oil production is starting to get out of the market and this will help improve prices.”

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets to review its output policy on Dec. 4 and the comments add to signs the group is unlikely to be diverted from its strategy.

OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri, also speaking in Kuwait City, was similarly upbeat on the market outlook.

“I see a decline in non-OPEC production and I see an increase in the call on OPEC,” he said. “So the situation is positive as we see it at the end of this year and next year.”

MORE BALANCED MARKET

The Kuwaiti minister also saw support for prices coming from a stronger global economy.

“There are signs that world economic growth could improve by the start of 2016 and this would also add to the improvement in oil prices,” he said.

In its report, OPEC pointed to a supply glut easing in 2016 and to a ‘more balanced’ market.

OPEC expects the world will need 510,000 barrels per day (bpd) more crude from its current 12 members next year than previously thought, as supplies fall from outside the group.

Non-OPEC supply is expected to decline by 130,000 bpd in 2016, the report said, as output falls in the United States, the former Soviet Union, Africa, the Middle East and much of Europe. Last month, OPEC predicted it would grow.

Before the December meeting, OPEC has asked several non-OPEC countries – which OPEC has tried but so far failed to persuade to cut supply – to attend technical-level talks at its Vienna headquarters on Oct. 21.

Seven to eight non-OPEC countries plus all OPEC nations had been invited, Badri said.

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