Image courtesy of OPEC.

To no one’s surprise, OPEC decided  Friday to keep its production target unchanged from the current 30 million barrel per day mark.

According to Reuters,  Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali al-Naimi said he is “100 percent comfortable with the oil market situation.”

Although the target will stay at 30 million barrels per day OPEC has been pumping nearly 1 million extra barrels per month for most of the quarter, thanks in part to production boosts in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

OPEC members pumped a record breaking 30.93 million barrels per day in April.

Saudi Arabia has been an especially vocal defender of OPEC’s target, arguing that the group can not be responsible for propping up global energy prices.

“It is a free market, everyone is free to produce as much as he wants,” al-Naimi told Reuters.

While some producers had hoped OPEC would cut its target to drive oil prices higher, several OPEC officials had signaled the target would stay in place.

Earlier this week, an unnamed OPEC delegate told Reuters the group will most likely keep its current production target in place at the behest of members from the Arab Gulf region.

“There is consensus among Gulf OPEC countries, and others, to keep the ceiling unchanged. Nobody wants to rock the boat” a senior Gulf OPEC delegate said.

In a statement following the meeting, OPEC said its members expressed concern over price volatility but the group believes the worst of the oil price rout is over.

“Recording its continued concern over market volatility and the challenges faced by the global oil industry as a whole, the Conference observed, further, that the sharp decline in oil prices witnessed at the end of last year and the start of this year – caused by oversupply and speculation – had now abated, with prices moving slightly higher in recent months,” OPEC said.

Brent crude prices have tumbled from about $68.00 per barrel at the beginning of May to $61.79 on Thursday’s closing bell.

OPEC acknowledged that crude supply levels are “well above” the five year averages in terms of absolute volume and said it is an indication that the market is “comfortably supplied.”

The group expects global oil demand to grow in the second half of 2015 and in 2016, with much of the gains driven by non-OECD countries.

Non-OPEC supply growth in 2015 is expected to be just below 700,000 barrels per day, or about 33 percent of the growth rate recorded in 2014.

OPEC will meet again on December 4.


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