Statement by OPEC Conference President on the recent rising trend in oil prices

No 10/2005
Vienna, Austria
09 Aug 2005

Statement by HE Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, OPEC Conference President & Secretary General, Minister of Energy of Kuwait

OPEC continues to monitor oil market developments closely and has observed with concern the recent rising trend in oil prices and prevailing volatility in global markets. Noting that this latest increase has been triggered by a series of refinery outages that have aggravated downstream bottlenecks in key consuming regions, along with increasing geo-political tensions, OPEC reiterates its ongoing commitment to maintain market stability with reasonable prices compatible with robust economic growth, particularly in the emerging economies of the developing world.

Towards this end, OPEC Conferences have repeatedly increased the production ceiling by more than 4m b/d in recent years. Moreover, Member Countries have accelerated projects to expand production capacity in order to meet rising demand and ensure the availability of adequate spare capacity. While consultations with Heads of Delegation are ongoing after the decision of the June Conference to increase the ceiling to 28m b/d, OPEC Member Countries have continued to place additional supplies on the market. OPEC-10 production is estimated to have reached about 28.3m b/d, while total OPEC is reportedly producing close to 30.4m b/d and rising. These incremental volumes have led to global supply exceeding demand over the last two years, allowing stocks to continue to build to well above the five-year average.

With the expectation for continued healthy global economic growth and rising demand for oil, the Organization will continue to take appropriate and prompt action as and when the need arises. Member Countries with spare capacity (estimated at around 2m b/d) have reiterated their readiness to make these additional supplies available should the market call for it.

While continuing to invest in new production capacity and increase output to meet future growth in demand, OPEC reiterates its call on all parties concerned to join efforts for market stability. Welcoming the recognition of the need to address the downstream challenge, OPEC also calls, in particular, for the enactment of concrete measures that would encourage rapid and sizeable investments in the refining sector, particularly in conversion capacity, which has persistently lagged market requirements and exacerbated oil price volatility.