Oil prices of more than $100 a barrel are unlikely to sway Opec ministers meeting in Vienna this week into raising output, which they say is more than enough.
Consumers, led by top fuel burner the United States, have urged the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) to produce more oil in an attempt to cool prices, which were trading at $101.29 a barrel by 1027 GMT, down 55 cents from Friday’s close.
Opec ministers have said prices have been driven by factors beyond their control, including a weak US dollar and political tension, and not by any lack of oil.
Libya’s top oil official Shokri Ganem, the first to arrive in Vienna ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, said he did not expect a change.
“It is not a good time for action, it is a time for watching,” he said.
That could even be the case for the rest of the year, Opec sources said. “It looks like a relaxed year in terms of the supply-demand balance,” said an Opec source. “Opec could more or less keep production steady for the rest of the year.”
The producers have forecast global demand growth of 1.23 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, which is more conservative than data from the International Energy Agency.
Oil prices drew some support on Monday as Opec members Venezuela and Ecuador sent troops to their borders with Colombia.
Venezuela is also in dispute with US oil major ExxonMobil, which has won court orders freezing up to $12 billion of the country’s assets.
Opec’s most influential member Saudi Arabia would not be led on the outcome of this week’s meeting.
But the kingdom’s Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi said in an interview published at the weekend prices would not fall below $60-$70 a barrel as this was the minimum level at which alternatives to conventional oil were economically viable.