Angola says $80 might be right oil price

Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas

OPEC member Angola declared Tuesday that $80 might be the “right oil price” for the market, ahead of this week’s key production meeting in Vienna.

“The country has suffered a lot from the drop in oil prices, you know that oil represents 98 percent of our revenues and this is a lot,” Oil Minister Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos told reporters upon his arrival in the Austrian capital.

“The right price is (decided by) the market. $70, $80? $80 might be a right price,” he said.

The 12-nation OPEC cartel, pumping some 30 percent of the world’s oil, meets this Friday for a semiannual production gathering in Vienna.

The cartel, which comprises a dozen nations from Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, is widely expected to maintain its official production target of 30 million barrels per day.

In recent weeks, oil prices have fought back after the market plunged 60 percent between June 2014 and January on the back of abundant supplies.

OPEC refused in November to cut its official daily oil output target of 30 million barrels — where it has stood for more than three and a half years — despite the glut.

The move, which sent prices sliding further, was widely regarded as a tactical attempt to boost demand and hurt non-OPEC output, particularly US shale producers which have higher costs.

However, poorer OPEC members — such as Angola, Venezuela and Libya — need higher crude oil prices to increase precious revenues and balance their budgets.

“We need to start the meeting, after that we will have some results about the situation,” added Vasconcelos.

“We are keeping our (production) level, but I don’t know. We need to wait.

“I’d like for the prices to go up, but this is not easy.”

Over the past year, the global oil market has experienced a rollercoaster ride as investors took their cue from the outlook for demand in a weakening global economy, and for supply in a market awash with crude.

World oil prices sat at more than $100 per barrel one year ago, but dived in January to a six-year low.

Losses deepened in November after OPEC opted again to maintain output levels, as kingpin Saudi Arabia sought to preserve the cartel’s market share.

Since early this year, however, oil has rebounded to $60 per barrel, boosted by the weak dollar and faltering US shale oil output — which is starting to fall as lower prices hit the high-cost sector.

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