Monday, October 24, 2011

Iraq's Shahristani says sees no need for OPEC cut

* Shahristani says supply and demand balanced

* OPEC scheduled to meet Dec. 14

BAGHDAD(Reuters) - Iraq's deputy prime minister for energy, Hussain al-Shahristani, said on Monday current oil prices are acceptable for both consumers and producers and that he saw no need for OPEC to cut production at its next meeting.

"Current prices are acceptable for both consumers and producers, and we do not see any impact of the Europe debt crisis on global oil prices," Shahristani said.

Shahristani, a former oil minister who oversees Iraq's growing oil sector, told Reuters there were indications global demand for oil is increasing despite the debt crisis.

"Currently oil supply and demand are balanced and we noticed a gradual increase in demand since last year and we expect the increase to continue," Shahristani said.

"I can't see a need for OPEC to decide on a production cut at its next meeting, and I think current output levels are meeting global demand," he said.

OPEC is scheduled to meet on Dec. 14 at its Vienna headquarters.

Iraq, seeking to ramp up its production capacity to rival global leaders, has boosted its output to 2.9 million barrels per day this year.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates boosted output unilaterally after Iran, African countries and Venezuela blocked a Saudi-led proposal to increase output targets at OPEC's last meeting on June 8.

Brent crude LCOc1 rose above $110 on Monday, and U.S. crude CLc1 was valued above $88. (Reporting by Waleed Ibrahim; Writing by Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Jim Loney and Jane Baird)

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