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Last Updated: Monday, 9 June, 2003, 06:28 GMT 07:28 UK
Opec to maintain oil production
An oil worker at the Shuaiba refinery near Basra
Iraq's supplies have been slow to resume
Members of the Opec group of oil producing countries are expected to agree to keep production at current levels when they meet this week.

If Iraq's oil production had been more quickly restored, the cartel could have been under pressure to make cuts or see prices drop.

Oil prices are at the top end of the group's $22-$28 a barrel target.

"We won't just cut for the sake of cutting," said Opec President Abdullah al-Attiyah, who is also Qatar's oil minister.

He said he was content with the level of oil prices for now, but warned that Iraq's return to world markets would push prices down.

No contact

Baghdad is preparing to resume international sales in about a week's time.

But shipments are expected to stay well below their levels before the US-led war for several months.

Non-Opec countries including Russia, Mexico, Syria, Oman, Egypt and Angola will send official representatives to this week's meeting.

But there will be no delegation from Iraq.

Mr al-Attiyah said there had been no contact between Opec headquarters and Iraq since the war.

But he said he hoped Iraq would be represented at the cartel's September meeting.

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