Reuters: OPEC members have complied well with sharp production cuts agreed since September to shore up falling oil prices, top officials from Qatar and Iran said on Sunday.
By Luke Pachymuthu
DOHA, March 8 (Reuters) – OPEC members have complied well with sharp production cuts agreed since September to shore up falling oil prices, top officials from Qatar and Iran said on Sunday.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to cut oil supply by 4.2 million barrels per day since September as the global economic slowdown eats into energy demand.
"The commitment is very good," Qatar's Oil Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah told reporters ahead of an energy conference in Doha. When asked whether he was satisfied with compliance levels, he said: "Yes, so far."
He declined to comment on whether OPEC would make any change in supply policy at its next meeting in Vienna on March 15.
According to a Reuters survey, the producer group had delivered around 80 percent of the pledged cuts in February.
U.S. oil CLc1 settled at its highest level for over a month on Friday at $45.52 a barrel. The price is over $100 below its July peak but up from a low in December near $32.
The market had benefited from better-than-expected compliance with OPEC supply cuts and also from a rise in gasoline demand in top consumer the United States, Iran's OPEC Governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi said.
"Gasoline consumption is increasing… and we have not entered into the driving season yet," Khatibi told reporters in Doha.
U.S. gasoline demand rose 2.2 percent in the past four weeks versus a year ago, U.S. government data showed.
Iran's oil minister said in early March he did not expect OPEC to cut output again this month because commitment to existing supply curbs had stemmed the oil price fall.
But OPEC members Venezuela and Libya have said there is too much crude in the market and that another supply cut may be needed.
OPEC supplies more than a third of the world's crude, and there are signs that cuts have tightened up the oil market. Prices have risen for lower quality crude that OPEC members cut first when they reduce output. (Reporting by Luke Pachymuthu; writing by Simon Webb; Editing by Derek Caney)