OPEC agreed to maintain current oil production levels at its meeting on Saturday while Saudi Arabia reiterated that $70-$80 a barrel was its favored price for crude.
The group scheduled its next meeting for June 2 to discuss production policy.
Below are comments from OPEC ministers and officials at the Saturday meeting:
- Asked by reporters in Quito what price range Saudi favored, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said: $70-$80 is a good price.
OPEC SECRETARY GENERAL
- If there is a problem with fundamentals then we would be concerned, but if the fundamentals are okay and there is enough oil in the market and the prices shoots to $147 as what happened in 2008, this is not our problem. This is a speculation problem, Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri said.
There is plenty of oil in the market, there is no shortage.
- Asked if the producer group could hold an extraordinary meeting before June, al-Badri said OPEC is always ready to meet when there is an imbalance in the market.
- If prices go high because of speculation we can do nothing about it.
- When you go to buy oil and you cannot find it, that's when OPEC will interfere and solve it.
- If you have six days above the five-year average in stocks, what more do you need than that? If you have six million barrels per day of spare capacity, what more do you need than that?
If you go to buy oil you can find it anywhere you go.
- We are comfortable with the price now and we don't have a forecast for prices.
- The recent rise in the basket price has been driven by bullish sentiment attributable mainly to the weakening U.S. dollar, said Wilson Pastor, current OPEC president and Ecuador's oil minister.
However, there is a general feeling in the market that today's levels are comfortable for both producers and consumers.
- We believe that the market should compensate high production costs. $100 a barrel would appear to be an adequate price, said Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez.
- We have to maintain the same level of production, even through the end of 2011, because the market is affected by speculation, Ramirez told reporters after OPEC agreed not to change supply.
- Iranian Oil minister Massoud Mirkazemi said global oil demand was not good and that nominal prices are good, real prices are not.
- For the time being prices are quite fair, said Algeria's Oil Minister Youcef Yousfi.
- Shokri Ghanem, chairman of Libya's National Oil Corporation, said fundamentals rather than price were paramount.
Once there is a shortage in the market, or once we feel there is a shortage in the market, we of course will increase production but it is not just a function of the price, Ghanem said.