Iran urges emergency OPEC meet as price drops

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 30, 2012 10:35 AM
Iran urges emergency OPEC meet as price drops

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi urged OPEC's secretary general to call for an extraordinary meeting amid falling oil prices, Iranian Oil Ministry's website SHANA said on Saturday.

"In 161st meeting of OPEC it was agreed if oil prices fall below $100 per barrel it means that prices are in crisis, so we have urged secretary general of make preparations for holding an emergency meeting," Qasemi told SHANA.

International crude benchmarks Brent and U.S. oil futures posted their biggest quarterly declines on Friday since the fourth quarter of 2008 due to weak demand, ample supply and economic worries.

However prices rebounded later on Friday on a deal by European leaders to shore up euro zone banks. Brent crude oil futures rose more than $6 a barrel to near $98 while U.S. crude jumped by more than $7 to settle just below $85 a barrel.

Qasemi warned that if OPEC members failed to comply with the agreed production ceiling of 30 million bpd this would disrupt balance in the oil market.

"If OPEC members don't observe agreed production ceiling it will be followed by disorder in oil markets," he said.

Qasemi's view echoed comments from fellow OPEC price hawks Iraq and Venezuela last week.

Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said on Friday that OPEC needed to cut its supply, while Venezuela's Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez also called for an extraordinary meeting in the third quarter of this year if global crude prices remain low.

In its last meeting in mid-June, OPEC agreed to adhere to the collective limit, implying a 1.6 million bpd cut from the actual supply for 12 members of 31.5 million. To do that, Saudi Arabia would need to cut back sharply.

But Saudi Arabia is showing no sign yet of changing its policy of pumping near its highest rate in decades to support global economic growth, despite a fall in crude prices below $90 a barrel for the first time in 18 months. (Reporting by Amena Bakr; Editing by Sophie Walker)