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OPEC to increase output-Iraq

TOKYO, Nov 23 2011

OPEC will likely decide to cut oil output at its Dec. 14 meeting in Vienna as global oil demand is expected to decline next year, Iraq's oil minister said on Tuesday, a view in line with fellow member Iran but one which runs counter to mainstream expectations.

Industry observers say a cut in output is unlikely to find support among the Gulf Arab OPEC members while oil prices remain well above $100 a barrel.

Iran aims to persuade OPEC members to return output production to levels before they were raised earlier this year in response to the Libyan crisis.

Iran along with African producers and Venezuela, blocked a Saudi-led proposal to increase output targets at OPEC's last meeting on June 8, but Saudi Arabia and its Gulf OPEC allies boosted output unilaterally afterwards.

Iraq's Oil Minister Abdul-Kareem Luaibi also told reporters that he expects oil prices to trade between $100 and $120 a barrel, which is "reasonable" and "acceptable" for Iraq.

Brent crude rose 37 cents to $107.25 a barrel by 0726 GMT, after falling for four consecutive sessions. U.S. January crude was up 40 cents to $97.32 a barrel.

The minister, who was in Tokyo for meetings with Japanese companies, made the remarks through a translator.

Story by Osamu Tsukimori from Reuters

Reuters / Tue Nov 22, 2011


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