VIENNA: Opec oil exporters, set to leave output policy unchanged, yesterday were weighing the impact of rising supplies of US shale oil that are redrawing the landscape of global oil trade.
Opec has little room to pump more oil due to the US oil boom that has sparked competition for market share in Asia and set off a rivalry between its top producers Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
At a meeting in Vienna today, the 12-member group is expected to stick with its 30 million barrel a day (bpd) output target for the last six months of 2013.
"Everything will be as before, we will maintain the production level," said Libya's Oil Minister Abdelbari Al Arusi.
A year ago, Opec gave shale oil short shrift, but now it is a hot topic. Gulf producers are of the view that Opec will still be able to pump at least 30m bpd, provided US shale grows moderately.
"Shale oil is not a threat, but it changes the dynamics of where the oil is going. There will be more competition in Asia," said a Gulf Opec source.
Despite the growing supply, oil is comfortably above $100 a barrel, well below the $125 that rang alarms in major consumer countries last year.
But triple digit oil has also unlocked vast amounts of US shale oil in North Dakota and Texas - which competes with Opec crude of similar, light quality from Nigeria and Algeria, rather than heavier Saudi output.