OPEC sees $70-$90 as floor for oil prices - paper

ALGIERS Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:06pm IST

Algerian Oil Minister and OPEC President Chakib Khelil arrives for a news conference in Vienna in this September 10, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Algerian Oil Minister and OPEC President Chakib Khelil arrives for a news conference in Vienna in this September 10, 2008 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader

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ALGIERS (Reuters) - OPEC oil producers see oil prices bottoming at $70-$90 per barrel, OPEC President Chakib Khelil was quoted as saying in Saturday's edition of Algerian daily El Watan.

The comments come before the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries holds an emergency meeting on Oct. 24 in Vienna to discuss the impact of economic weakness on oil markets.

"Normally, OPEC has no price target. The market decides on prices. But people say that the bottom price, the bottom cost below which we can not step down, is between $70 and $90 per barrel," El Watan quoted Khelil as telling reporters.

He cited cases of Canada and Brazil, where oil could not pumped if prices were to fall below $70 per barrel.

Khelil, who is also Algeria's energy and mining minister, added: "It is obvious that to ensure market balance, supplies must be reduced."

"I cannot tell you now what the level would be. We have to meet and decide. I can not give an answer, the answer will come from the OPEC meeting," Khelil was quoted as saying in reply to question about how much OPEC would trim supplies.

On Friday, Khelil told Algerian state radio a "decision will be taken to lower oil supply by some OPEC members so that the oil price will not be damaged.

"This decision will not be implemented immediately because there are contracts, but will probably be implemented 40 days after it (the decision) is taken."

He did not say which countries were likely to cut supplies.

Pressure is mounting within OPEC to reduce supplies as oil prices have fallen more than 50 percent from July's record of $147.27 and expectations have grown that a global recession will erode fuel demand.

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