OPEC ministers face some difficult decisions when they meet in Vienna on 12 December. A projected fall in the demand for OPEC crude and an uncertain economic outlook require careful management if the organization hopes to continue to enjoy the bumper revenues of the past 24 months.

However, the latest MEES wellhead production estimates point to OPEC compliance with its nominal 30mn b/d target slipping last month. Shipping data emphatically shows Mideast Gulf sailings rising sharply through November to hit three-year highs of 18.5mn b/d (see graph). They then tail-off at the end of the month. Accordingly MEES estimates show a 300,000 b/d jump in November, with Saudi Arabia spearheading the export charge. (CONTINUED - 956 WORDS)