Opec move on high oil prices unlikely, say Iranians


Opec is not likely to increase production to cool soaring world oil prices when it meets in 10 says time, the Iranian representative to the cartel said today.

Mr Hossein Kazempour Ardebili told the Fars news agency there was general satisfaction with the market among members and that when the cartel meets on March 16 th, prices will be held and the suspension of the $22-$28 price band will continue.

"Under conditions when global oil prices are higher and under conditions when OPEC has no tendency for extra production to reduce price levels, OPEC members welcome current prices," he said.

"What [price] range Opec will be decided upon in the current period is not on the agenda, and Opec does not see any reason for a necessary agreement to decrease global oil prices," he added.

Oil prices hit a $53 high last week on world markets though it slipped back to nearer $52 by close of business on Friday.

While Mr Ardebili's comments match those of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez last week, the Nigerians have suggested there may be scope for raising production.

Analysts are predicting an average price of $60 - $70 throughout this year and it has been suggested that if prices spiral an emergency meeting could be called in the spring.

It is likely that members will await the end of the cold weather in the West to see how it affects demand before deciding if action is needed.