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As oil prices continued to hover close to $50 a barrel in early December, OPEC members gave conflicting signals about the likely outcome of a planned meeting of the organisation on 10 December. Saudi Arabia continued to emphasise its role as a swing producer. ‘This year we increased our total production capacity from 10.5 to 11.5 million barrels a day [b/d],’ Petroleum & Mineral Resources Minister Ali Naimi told delegates at a conference on 30 November. ‘We have also recently developed plans to increase Saudi Arabia’s sustainable production capacity to 12.5 million b/d over the next few years.’