Angola considers “new measures” to boost oil prices

4 February 2009

Luanda, Angola. 4 Feb – Angola’s Oil Minister and acting president of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Botelho de Vasconcelos, said Tuesday in Luanda that the organisation may take “new measures” if current production cuts did not lead to oil price rises.

Speaking to Portuguese news agency Lusa, the minister said that if the price did not rise when the limit for current cuts was reached, of 4.2 million barrels per day, “we will look at it again and, based on the assessment made, other measures will be taken.”

Vasconcelos estimated that “the trend (in prices) may be different” at the beginning of the second quarter of 2009 because, “the cuts of 4.2 million barrels per day began in January,” and that amount “has not yet been reached.”

“The organisation has been following the progress of prices. The first month has gone by, the second is underway and I believe that the positive signs, which could give us some comfort, could start to show in the second quarter,” he noted.

Specifically in reference to Angola, Vasconcelos said that the price for a barrel of oil at US$75 “would be very good” noting that the current price, of around US$40, “does not allow for investments and projects to go ahead, or to maintain all programmes for increase reserve capacities.”

Angola, which has presided over OPEC since 1 January and will do so for a year, produces an average of 1.9 million barrels of oil per day and has cut its production by around 250,000 barrels per day.

The production cuts and low oil prices are the main reasons for the World Bank’s forecast, in its January report on the Angolan economy, that 2009 would be a “very difficult” year and its pointing to the possibility of the economy contracting. (macauhub)