OPEC should act promptly to oil shortage: IEA

OPEC should act promptly to oil shortage: IEA

Seoul: Opec must act more promptly in raising oil output in case of a shortage, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday, as the producer group meets next week to discuss sliding prices and demand.

“If (there is) a shortage of supply, we would want them to act more quickly," Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of IEA, said on the sidelines of its World Energy Outlook 2008 presentation in Seoul.

The 12 members of Opec, which produce about 40% of the world’s oil, agreed last month to cut supply by 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) starting 1 November, in a move which has yet to stem falling prices.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, will meet again in Cairo on 29 November. But its President Chakib Khelil said in remarks published on Wednesday that while the cartel was very concerned about worsening world economic slowdown, it was unlikely to take action on output at the meeting.

A source close to Opec said on Tuesday the group could still decide to cut output at the informal talks, which one delegate said could be up to 1.5 million bpd.

Oil fell from records above $147 a barrel in July to $53.30 on Wednesday, the lowest price since January 2007.

The economic crisis had already led the IEA, to cut its assumption for 2008 world oil demand growth to the lowest rate in 15 years at just 440,000 bpd.