|Monday, 7 June 2004|
Alfean Hardy, Malaysia
At a cartel conference being held in Beirut OPEC has announced it will raise its oil output ceiling by 2 million barrels per day on 1 July. Furthermore, cartel members will also have the option to raise this ceiling by another 500,000 bpd.
This expected move comes on the back of intense pressure from oil consuming nations for the cartel to boost production levels in order to lower rising record oil prices.
In a statement OPEC's Director Information Department, Omar Ibrahim, said, "The conference decided to increase its ceiling, excluding Iraq, to 25.5 million bpd with effect on July 1 and to 26 million bpd from August 1."
"The official OPEC production ceiling currently stands at 23.5 million bpd, but the cartel is actually pumping at 26 million bpd and has been doing so for some time. In effect, the official increase of 2.5 million bpd would take the ceiling to actual production levels," added Omar who reiterated the party line in blaming rising oil prices on increased oil demands from the US and China and on "geopolitical concerns and refinery bottlenecks".
Iraq is still repairing the damage done to its oil industry under a decade of UN sanctions and the effects of the recent US invasion. Iraq currently produces 2.7 million bpd.
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