Oil Prices Sit While OPEC Ponders Production Levels

    May 10, 2005

Light sweet crude prices climb almost to the $53 mark up 67 cents at $52.70 this morning. Meanwhile OPEC leaders begin to discuss possible production increases for June. Brent North Sea crude is up about 75 cents at $51.68 this morning. Gasoline prices are up 3 cents this morning at $1.50 a gallon.

Speculation is high right now, perhaps artificially so because investors are unsure about the future of production from OPEC. Many investors feel OPEC has hit close to the ceiling of what they are physically able to produce and with China and India show increasingly intense thirsts for petroleum, demand won’t slow down any time soon.

According to president Sheikh Ahmed Fahd al-Sabah, OPEC’s 11 member nations are cranking over 30.3 million bpd.

“Production of all OPEC members, including Iraq, was 29.7 million bpd last month,” said the Sheikh.

Iraq currently cranks out about 1.7 million bpd but their production capacity could be much higher with some pipelines sitting on empty since various insurgents have hammered Iraq’s oil infrastructure.

The Sheikh went on to say that oil markets are oversupplied right but that an increase in production for June wouldn’t be ruled out either during the June 15th meeting of the oil cartel.

“For June, I can’t say anything for now. But we have to study the market, the behavior of prices and growth of demand,”

Right now, OPEC is producing near capacity without regard to established quotas with Saudi cranking out nearly 10 million bpd by themselves.

“I think now we are dealing with the production without the quotas,” said the OPEC president.

Gas prices around the country are slowly starting to drop as the website www.GasPriceWatch.com listed the national average at $2.13 a gallon. The lowest price they have nationally right now is in $1.81 a gallon in Plymouth, IN. The website gathers their information from various “spotters” around the country who register local gas prices as they change.

All this comes just before the summer driving season kicks in beginning on Memorial Day weekend, which is the last weekend in May.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.