IEA says OPEC spare capacity is less than 1 million b/d

12 March 2003
The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly oil report released on 12 March that spare OPEC oil production capacity is now 900,000 barrrels-a-day, less than half the present volume of Iraq crude oil exports. Iraq is exporting 1.7 million b/d under the UN oil-for-food programme.

'The market is heading into a period of heightened uncertainty with low stocks and limited spare production and shipping capacity,' the agency said. The report estimates that Saudi Arabia has capacity to produce 9.5 million b/d. This compares with production of about 9 million b/d at present.

The IEA forecast that Saudi Arabia will raise capacity to 9.7 million b/d in April and 10 million bpd in May. It estimates that the kingdom's full capacity is 10.5 million b/d.

An OPEC ministerial meeting in Vienna on 11 March agreed to leave quotas for the 10 complying members unchanged despite the recent surge in oil prices which has lifted the average OPEC basket price to more than $33 a barrel from the target of $22-28 a barrel.

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