OPEC on Friday again defied calls to cut output despite the low oil price, extending its new strategy to preserve market share and fend off cheaper competition from the US shale energy boom.
The decision to maintain output levels, made at a key production meeting in Vienna, leaves Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries´ (OPEC) official collective target at 30 million barrels per day — where it has stood for more than three and a half years.
“The ceiling is the same. You will be surprised how amicable the meeting was,” Saudi Arabia´s Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters after the gathering of the 12-nation oil producers´ cartel that pumps one third of the world´s crude.
The global oil market, plagued with demand worries, oversupply and booming US shale output, collapsed 60 percent between June 2014 — when West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude stood at about $106 per barrel — and late January, when it hit a six-year low under $45.