Last updated: 5 August, 2011

OPEC to consult if oil prices fall more says Iran

OPEC ministers will hold consultations if the price of crude oil continues to fall but it is too soon to call for an extraordinary meeting, Iran’s representative to the cartel said on Friday.

“If the oil price fall continues, the OPEC ministers will consult. But whether there is a need for an extraordinary meeting, it is too early to say, since fluctuation of oil prices is normal in the market,” Mohammad Ali Khatibi was quoted by the oil ministry’s news agency SHANA as saying.

“Experience gained in recent years has shown that economic problems can have an impact on world oil demand and so we should see if the crisis continues in coming weeks, then come to a comprehensive conclusion,” he added.

“The decrease in oil prices in (the past) few days cannot be used as a criterion for making decisions about the future of the market and a firm decision can only be made if the trend continues,” he said.

Iran currently holds the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries rotating presidency.

The next ordinary OPEC session is to be held on December 14 in Vienna.

Iran is OPEC’S second-largest producer, and oil revenues constitute around 80 percent of Tehran’s foreign exchange resources.

Oil closed down more than $5.00 on Thursday, driven by weakening growth in the United States, the world’s biggest oil consumer, and worries about European energy demand amid debt contagion in the eurozone.

The steep drop in oil prices came as stock markets in the United States and Europe were sent plummeting, which had a knock-on effect for Asian stocks on Friday.

However, prices traded mixed ahead of key US jobs data, which showed the economy generated a higher-than-expected 117,000 jobs in July and slightly reduced the unemployment rate.