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OPEC Decides to Keep Oil Output Unchanged

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced in Vienna Thursday that it has decided to hold the current oil output unchanged and to wait until September before making any changes.

The group issued a communique after a meeting, saying that it would not change the current daily oil production of 25.4 million barrels until the next meeting to be held on Sept. 24.

OPEC early feared that the revival of Iraqi crude exports might produce negative effect on its oil revenues and fluctuate the prices of oil market.

Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiya, the president of OPEC, told a news conference at the headquarters in Vienna, "We expect in September to be more clear about the Iraqi situation."

According to reports, OPEC will discuss whether to reduce oil output during the September meeting.

OPEC foresees an excess supply of 800,000 barrels a day in the fourth quarter of this year and demand increase in the last three months of the year and in 2004.

Due to OPEC's decision announced Thursday, September contracts of US light crude futures were trading 14 cents lower at US$30.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. North Sea Brent crude futures were trading 13 cents lower at US$28.37 in London.

Iraq is one of OPEC members but hasn't been counted in the group's production quotas since 1990. It is reported that Iraq has a current oil production of 800,000 barrels a day.
(Xinhua News Agency August 1, 2003)

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