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Senior officials at OPEC, which control two-fifths of the world's oil supply, said there is no shortage of oil on global markets and that they have no plans to pump more crude as they prepare to meet this week to review their output targets.
Representatives of the 11 OPEC member nations are to meet Tuesday in Vienna, Austria. Consuming nations, such as the United States, would like them to boost crude production, but industry analysts anticipate that the delegates will simply extend current production levels for another three months, the Associated Press reported.
Iraq, a major OPEC producer, injected an element of uncertainty Saturday when it decided to halt all crude oil exports. Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Naimi said OPEC was prepared to meet any shortfall in world oil production following Iraq's decision.
OPEC Secretary General Ali Rodriguez said Friday in Vienna that supply and demand for oil are now "normal." Higher gasoline prices in the U.S. stem from bottlenecks at refineries rather than tightness in oil supplies, he said.
OPEC decided in March to trim its output quota by 4 percent to 24.2 million barrels a day in an effort to buoy prices. That cut came after a decision in January to reduce the group's output by 5 percent.