OPEC crude oil output rose by nearly 400,000 barrels a day (b/d) in September to 24.93 million b/d, with industry analysts predicting that this high level would be maintained for the rest of the year. However, price trends were firm in the run up to the ministerial meeting in Indonesia on 21 November when members’ quotas are expected to be rolled over for at least three months.

The September output rise was mainly due to the restoration of Nigerian production following the end of an oil workers strike. Venezuela continued to pump more than its allocation and there were other small transgressions by Saudi Arabia, Iran and others, analysts say.

OPEC sources say that the idea of a roll-over of the organisation’s 24.52 million b/d ceiling is gaining momentum. Several ministers have already stated publicly that quotas should be maintained for at least the first quarter of 1995. Some advocate a 12-month rollover.

In central Asia, plans for the $1,200 million export pipeline project for the US’ Chevron’s Tengizchevroil joint-venture oil field in Kazakhstan remain uncertain because of a financing dispute. Chevron objects to being asked to shoulder virtually all of the costs and risks of the pipeline. The company criticised Oman for not fulfilling its obligations within the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), composed of Kazakhstan, Russia and Oman.

The Kazakh government on 4 October appealed to Chevron to support the consortium, but said other potential investors are also knocking at the door. A senior Kazakh official said British Gas and Italy’s Agip are interested, and Elfneftehgaz, the local operation of France’s Elf Aquitaine, had also made an offer.