OPEC is unlikely to produce more than its current output of around 30 million barrels per day within the next few months, its secretary general said on Tuesday.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets on Dec. 14 to set output policy and, with oil prices well above $100 per barrel, some OPEC officials have indicated the group will not rush to adjust supplies.
"If the market really needs more crude we are ready to supply, but I don't think that OPEC will produce more than 30 million barrels a day by the end of this year and maybe also next year," OPEC's Abdullah al-Badri told journalists at the presentation of the organization's 2011 World Oil Outlook.
Brent crude oil was up $1.30 to $115.86 per barrel Tuesday afternoon. Mr. al-Badri said he did not expect oil prices to fall below $100 in 2011.
"We leave it to the market to decide, but to be more specific I don't think the price will come down below $100 by the end of this year," he said.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf OPEC allies raised production unilaterally after failing at the group's last meeting in June to convince Iran, African members and Venezuela to agree a coordinated increase to meet a shortfall in Libyan supplies.
"We have been producing about 30 million barrels a day more or less even in the absence of Libya. Libya is coming back, they are producing now 530,000 barrels a day," Mr. al-Badri said.
"I hear that they will produce about 750,000-800,000 barrels a day by the end of this year, so there will be a lot of crude coming from Libya."
Mr. al-Badri declined to comment directly when asked if OPEC would leave output unchanged. But he indicated he expected a more harmonious meeting as opposed to June's bad-tempered talks, which collapsed without a deal.
"I cannot decide for the ministers. They will decide themselves. I am only giving a general idea. I am expecting that December will be a meeting without any (of the) outside pressure ... we saw in June."