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27. November 2003  
No oil output cut despite OPEC worry

Oil and Energy Minister Einar Steensnaes said on Thursday that Norway had no plans to curb output next year when the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) cartel fears prices may falter due to rising world supplies, a winter rarity.

Steensnaes told an energy conference in Oslo that Norway planned to maintain production at maximum capacity of 2.9 million barrels a day in 2004.

Steensnaes said current prices and inventory levels, violence in the Middle East and delays in the recovery of Iraq's oil exports indicated there was no need to reduce output.

"All these indications put together say there is no need for production cuts," he said. Norway is the world's number three oil exporter behind OPEC powerhouse Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC Russia.

Via Aftenposten.

OPEC, which meets on December 4 to discuss output policy, has expressed fears that rising non-OPEC production next year could put prices under pressure.

The OPEC cartel cut its output ceiling by 3.5 percent at a September meeting in order to counter forecasts of a rare winter stock build, and oil prices have risen 14 percent since that decision.

Steensnaes said he was in informal contact with other oil producers but Norway would continue to decide its policy unilaterally.

"We are not cooperating in the sense of agreeing on common positions but it is beneficial to exchange views," he told reporters.



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