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OPEC meets to decide output level

Kuwait's oil minister said Monday that there is no need for OPEC to cut production, despite crude prices that have fallen nearly 30 percent since July.

Mohammed Abdullah Al-Aleem is part of an OPEC committee whose recommendations could affect OPEC's final decision on amount of output.

He spoke on the eve of a meeting of oil ministers from the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries who will decide whether to reduce production or keep it at current levels.

"For the time being ... there is no need to cut production," Al-Aleem said, but he added that current supply had outpaced demand.

While officials from Iran and Libya said there is too much crude on the market, the energy minister of the United Arab Emirates said OPEC's policy of keeping the world oil market "well supplied" had not changed.

Minister of Energy Mohammed Bin Dhaen al-Hamli was also quoted by UAE's state news agency as saying that crude oil stockpiles in heavily consuming countries are within recent average levels.

Oil prices have fallen nearly 30 percent from their highs above $147 a barrel.

OPEC President Chakib Khelil seemed to support, at least in principle, the stance that current oil supplies are enough to satisfy global demand.

"Definitely, there is plenty of oil on the market, " Khelil said on arriving in Vienna, forecasting that by the end of 2008 or early 2009, daily oil output would exceed demand by between 500,000 and 1.5 million barrels.

Asked what OPEC's likely decision regarding output would be, Khelil said, "All options are open."

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