Iran General NewsIran sees lower Q1 demand for OPEC oil: news...

Iran sees lower Q1 demand for OPEC oil: news agency

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ImageReuters: Demand for OPEC crude in the first quarter of 2010 is expected to fall below the producer group's current output, the semi-official Mehr News Agency quoted a senior Iranian official as saying on Monday. ImageTEHRAN (Reuters) – Demand for OPEC crude in the first quarter of 2010 is expected to fall below the producer group's current output, the semi-official Mehr News Agency quoted a senior Iranian official as saying on Monday.

"Demand in the last quarter of 2009 is about 29.3 million barrels per day (bpd) … it is expected to fall to 28.1 million bpd in the first quarter of next year," said Mohammad Ali Khatibi, Iran's representative to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

"Global demand for OPEC oil (in the first quarter of 2010) will be lower than current output," Khatibi said, without elaborating.

Khatibi also said output by countries outside the OPEC was expected to increase by 200,000 bpd during the same period.

On Saturday, Khatibi was quoted as saying that there was no need to change OPEC's crude output ceiling because the oil market was in balance.

The OPEC will meet in Angola on December 22 to decide on its oil production policy. A rise in prices has prompted some voices within OPEC to raise the prospect of an output rise at the December meeting, if the rally continues.

Even though oil has rallied in 2009, it is far below its record high of more than $147 a barrel reached in July 2008.

(Reporting by Reza Derakhshi; writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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