OPEC raises output, ready to act if needed

Energy Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC stuck to its view that the world has enough oil despite the loss of Libya's crude and prices of $113 a barrel, pointing to rising output from other members and a looming seasonal slowdown in demand.

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In a monthly report on Friday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said February output rose 110,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 30.02 million bpd, the highest since December 2008 when the group agreed a record cut in its output.

OPEC said oil stocks would rise if it maintained output at February's level and European oil refineries - those most affected by the loss of Libyan crude exports -- had time to source replacement supplies.

"Despite the onset of the low seasonal demand period, recent disruptions may create some anxiety in the market, providing grounds for increased speculative activity," OPEC said in its report.

"The impact of the disruption in North African crude oil exports will be mainly felt by European refineries. Considering the availability of product stocks, refiners should have enough time over the maintenance season to adapt to any new requirements."

OPEC ministers and officials have said that the group does not need to hold an emergency meeting because supply is ample. Its next scheduled meeting is in June.

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In the report, OPEC said it was ready to take any further action, reiterating that it was able to add close to 6 million bpd to the market if needed.

"OPEC continues to closely monitor oil market developments and stands ready to act, as deemed necessary, to support market stability," it said.

(Reporting by Alex Lawler; editing by James Jukwey)

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