Despite risking the oil market with further volatility after it decided last week to stick with its current high production levels, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) used its latest oil market report to stress that it was committed to market stability.
In the report, out Wednesday, the 12-member oil producer group justified its decision to keep production at 30 million barrels a day, reiterating its forecasts that the current oversupply in the market was likely to ease over the coming quarters against a backdrop of a global economic recovery and growing oil demand.
"The projections for market fundamentals indicate that the current oversupply in the market is likely to ease over the coming quarters," OPEC said in its report released Wednesday.
"Based on these expectations for the second half of the year, the OPEC Conference agreed to maintain its output at 30 mb/d and urged Members Countries to adhere to it. In agreeing to this decision, Member Countries confirmed their commitment to a stable and balanced oil market, with prices at levels suitable for both producers and consumers."
OPEC's decision was largely seen as a continuation of its strategy to put pressure on its rival U.S. shale oil producers, who have higher production costs and therefore struggle with lower oil prices, which are currently trading around $65 a barrel for benchmark Brent crude and $61 for U.S. crude, with prices half the amount seen last June.
Saudi Arabia has said before that it was comfortable with lower oil prices, although not all of its fellow OPEC members feel the same. Members like Venezuela, Libya and Iran have been calling for a cut. Despite the decision, OPEC said in its report that it was committed to market stability.
"It should be recognized that market stability remains a common objective for all market participants, attainable through cooperative effort," OPEC said.
Economic growth would mean an increase in oil demand, OPEC said, with global oil demand expected to pick up, resulting in a higher annual increase of 1.2 million barrels a day, compared to the previous year.
It also expected non-OPEC supply to decline in the second half of the year, compared to an increase in the first half, meaning that their forecasts of supply and demand justified maintaining its production ceiling.
It added, however, that "given current market uncertainties," OPEC would closely monitor the market and would reassess the situation at its next meeting in December.