OPEC weighs reduced demand oil forecast

Thu Nov 17, 2011 5:35pm GMT

* OPEC delegate sees weaker 2012 demand for OPEC crude

* Iran to oppose rollover of current output-delegate

* OPEC ministers decide policy on Dec. 14, governors meet this week

LONDON, Nov 17 (Reuters) - OPEC officials are considering estimates that demand for the group's crude oil in 2012 could average 1 million barrels per day (bpd) less than their current output, suggesting it may start to look at trimming supply.

The board of governors of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is meeting in Vienna this week, in preparation for the gathering of its oil ministers on Dec. 14 that will decide output policy.

OPEC ministers failed to reach agreement at their last meeting six months ago as Iran successfully opposed a move led by top exporter Saudi Arabia to raise OPEC quotas to meet a shortfall in supplies from Libya. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab OPEC allies raised production anyway.

The 12 OPEC members are producing 29.9 million bpd, around the same as the forecast demand for their crude in 2012 and 2011, according to the most recent monthly report from OPEC's headquarters issued on Nov. 9.

But a delegate from a core OPEC country said on Thursday demand for OPEC crude may average 29 million bpd in 2012.

"Our estimates are lower than OPEC's numbers," the delegate said, declining to be identified by name.   Continued...

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