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Friday, 15 March, 2002, 11:18 GMT
Opec plays down output boost
News in brief
The cartel of petroleum exporting countries Opec has decided against boosting oil production despite a recent rise in oil prices.

"No change. We will keep the level of production until the end of June," Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said.

Oil importing nations had called for production to be increased to offset a recent jump in prices caused by tensions in the Middle East and by hopes of an economic recovery which would boost demand.

But critics say high oil prices could derail the tentative economic recovery now thought to be under way in the US.

But Opec's members are keen to keep the oil price within a $22-$28 a barrel range.

"The price has only just entered the lower end of our band, and we hope it moves higher as the economy recovers," said Venezuelan oil minister Alvaro Silva.

To make the freeze on output levels effective, Opec will request a similar production cap from the non-Opec oil producing countries Mexico, Norway and Russia.

See also:

12 Mar 02 | Business
Opec: Playing Russia's oil game
08 Mar 02 | Business
Opec: The oil cartel
07 Mar 02 | Business
Opec's fading power
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