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Libyan official says OPEC production to stay "as is"
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16:08, March 03, 2008

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Current production levels of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will remain "as is" as OPEC continues to gauge the state of the global economy at a meeting this week in Vienna, the head of Libya's oil industry said Sunday.

"It seems as though things are going to be as is," said Shokri Ghanem, head of Libyan oil policy and Chief Executive of Libya's National Oil Co.

Ghanem also said OPEC will discuss the ongoing dispute between Venezuela and oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp., saying it was possible there could be an official pronouncement from the cartel on the issue.

"We will discuss it," he told reporters in the Austrian capital.

Exxon and Petroleos de Venezuela, or PdVSA, are entangled in a legal dispute over President Hugo Chavez's move to nationalize a multibillion dollar oil project in the Orinoco basin last summer, which prompted the Irving, Texas, oil giant to leave the country.

As it pursues twin arbitration cases internationally, Exxon has secured court orders freezing more than 12 billion U.S. dollars in PdVSA assets worldwide to ensure payment, a move Chavez calls a political affront. Venezuela has responded by cutting off spot market oil sales to Exxon.

Oil ministers from the 13-member oil-producer group, which supplies four out of 10 barrels of world oil consumption, will meet March 5 to discuss output policy against the contrasting factors of scorching record high prices and weakening demand.

OPEC ministers have made clear in recent days that they aren't likely to respond to bullish prices by boosting supplies.


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