TEHRAN // A senior Iranian official said today that Opec could meet in February in Kuwait to review the oil market's performance in January, after a newly agreed production cut, but added that no official invitation had been made. Opec met last month, when it agreed to a new output cut to try to halt an oil slide that has seen prices fall from $147 a barrel in July to about $46. The next scheduled meeting is in March.
The Opec president, Chakib Khalil, who is Algeria's energy and mines minister, has also said the organisation could decide in mid-January to hold an extraordinary meeting before March. Some ministers will attend an Arab economic summit scheduled for Jan 19 in Kuwait, which Mr Khelil said could be a forum for the group to look again at the oil market. That suggests a date even earlier than February for a review meeting.
"Maybe there is an idea that we may evaluate oil performance in January, therefore we may meet in February in Kuwait. But I have not seen any official invitation from the secretary-general or the president of Opec," said the Opec governor of Iran, Mohammad Ali Khatibi. In comments reported by the WAM news agency of the UAE, Iranian oil minister Gholamhossein Nozari said Opec would be forced to hold an emergency meeting in Kuwait to discuss the decline of the oil price.
Mr Nozari said it had not been decided yet whether an emergency meeting in Kuwait should be called, saying Opec was tracking oil prices following its decision in December to cut output by 2.2 million barrels per day starting from Jan 1, WAM reported. The latest Opec decision brings total cuts by the group from its September 2008 production levels to 4.2 million bpd. Mr Nozari was also quoted as saying Iran was committed to cutting output and said all members were committed to the decisions of the organisation.
Some Opec delegates have in the past voiced concern about Iran's compliance with previous output curbs. Iran, Opec's second biggest producer, insists it sticks to the organisations' commitments. *Reuters