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OPEC and Middle East - Dec 21

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Enlarged Opec aims for high crude prices

Gulf Daily News ("The Voice of Bahrain")
ABUJA: Opec members meeting in Nigeria this week decided to restrict their output but expand their club, sending strong signals that the group is targeting high prices and a tighter grip on world oil resources.

At a gathering in Abuja on Thursday, ministers from the 11 member countries opted to cut their production by another 500,000 barrels per day from February and accepted African producer Angola as a new member from January 1.

The first decision sent oil prices immediately higher; the second portends further expansion, with the admission of another African producer, Sudan, possible in March.

Despite protestations from the Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al Nuaimi that the group was not targeting prices, analysts were united in their opinion that Opec members had lined up to defend $60 per barrel.
(16 Dec 2006)

Angola Joins OPEC

Dave Cohen, The Oil Drum
The news is official - Enlarged Opec aims for high crude prices.

At a gathering in Abuja on Thursday [December 14], ministers from the 11 member countries opted to cut their production by another 500,000 barrels per day from February and accepted African producer Angola as a new member from January 1.

More details will follow below the fold but let us set the correct tone at the start.
Let us now to turn to the future prospects for OPEC in this context. Does the OPEC leadership believe the peak of oil production is upon us or near? Most likely not; the view here is that Ghanem's opinions are his own and do not reflect some clandestine view inside OPEC.

However, it stands to reason that OPEC will control a greater and greater market share of the world's conventional oil production as time goes on. Moreover, both Sudan and Ecuador have expressed interest in joining OPEC this year. Unless their hegemony over this available oil is trumped by geopolitical events, they will become more and more powerful as a result, with the caveat that they will have to enforce greater discipline within the organization.

OPEC will continue to influence the floor price for conventional oil. However, in the case of high prices that significantly dampen global oil demand - perhaps $80/barrel or more - OPEC will not have much ability to lower prices by means of large supply additions.

Iraq has been a disaster for OPEC, not just since the invasion by the United States in March, 2003, but for many years prior to the current war. Iraq has not participated in OPEC's quota system since 1998. Hence, the phrase "the OPEC-10 & Iraq". With the addition of Angola as their 12th (11th) member, OPEC is attempting to re-establish their up-stream market share and geopolitical position.
(20 Dec 2006)

Saudi Aramco revealed as biggest group

Francesco Guerrera and Carola Hoyos, Financial Times via MSNBC
The world's biggest company is controlled by Saudi Arabia and is not listed on a stock exchange, according to new research by the Financial Times and the management consultancy McKinsey.

The FT's Non-Public 150 - the first comprehensive study of the world's largest unlisted companies - found that Saudi Aramco, the state company in charge of the country's vast oil reserves, is worth an estimated $781bn, dwarfing the $454bn market capitalisation of its rival ExxonMobil.
(14 Dec 2006)

Arab Gulf states commission study for possible shared nuclear program

AP via International Herald Tribune
Oil-rich Arab Gulf countries said on Sunday that they're considering a shared nuclear program for peaceful purposes.

The surprise announcement comes as the U.S. and its allies allege that the Gulf's defiant neighbor Iran is secretly developing atomic weapons as part of its own contentious nuclear program.

The statement at the end of a meeting in the Saudi Arabian capital of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council was likely to ratchet up concerns about the danger of nuclear weapons spreading in the Middle East and appeared to be a signal to Iran that the Arab Gulf also can flex its muscle.
(10 Dec 2006)

Richest People Of The Middle East

Discovery Channel via Google Video
Documentary about some of the richest people of the middle east and how they live.
(3 Sept 2006)
How to spend billions of dollars: fast cars and lavish real estate development. I was too depressed to watch the show until the end. There are some far-sighted moves in the Middle East to plan for the end of oil, but this documentary doesn't show them (at least not in the first half). -BA

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