All the expectations are that Opec will keep its output ceiling unchanged when it meets in Vienna on 4 December. But this won’t be for some members’ want of trying. Opec crude oil production has been over 31mn b/d, that is to say more than 1mn b/d above the organization’s self-imposed 30mn b/d ‘ceiling’ since March. According to MEES estimates it was 31.4mn b/d in October; the IEA pegs it at 31.8mn b/d.

And with Iran threatening to add 1mn b/d by the end of 2016, and Saudi Arabia in no mood to make way, it would appear that the only way is up for Opec output. Even Libya may soon hike production (see p4). On the other hand Opec’s broke members such as Algeria (see p18) and Venezuela (see box) have been making increasingly shrill calls for action to raise prices which, with only a few days’ exception, have been below $50/B since the start of August (see p20). (CONTINUED - 501 WORDS)