QUITO, Oct 8 – Ecuador’s Oil Minister Pedro Merizalde told Reuters on Wednesday that current oil prices are normal given an increase in U.S. production, and that they will be discussed at the OPEC meeting in late November.
Global oil prices have dropped well below OPEC’s preferred level of $100 a barrel, triggering calls for a supply cut by some members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries while core Gulf members have shrugged off the decline.
“A meeting is planned in late November and that’s when we will talk,” about prices, Merizalde said when asked whether OPEC should hold an emergency meeting before its planned Nov. 27 gathering in Vienna.
Brent crude hit a 27-month low on Wednesday before recovering partially to close above $91 a barrel. Brent crude for November delivery settled down 73 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $91.38 a barrel.
But Merizalde said Ecuador, the smallest member of OPEC, isn’t worried about oil prices.
“It’s normal given the increase in production in the United States due to shale oil and shale gas,” Merizalde said on the sidelines of an event to showcase new oil contracts aimed at increasing the South American country’s production.
“It’s within the range of price variations,” he added.
The Andean country produces roughly 540,000 barrels per day.
OPEC’s output is climbing, reaching 30.96 million bpd in September, its highest since November 2012, due to further recovery in Libyan production and higher levels from the Gulf producers, according to a Reuters survey.
(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Gunna Dickson, Bernard Orr)