WRAPUP 1-OPEC says mkt oversupplied, holds fire on debt crisis

Sun May 9, 2010 3:47pm BST

* OPEC Sec-Gen says global oil markets oversupplied

* Group to take wait-and-see approach on price tumble

* No extraordinary meeting planned "for now" - Qatar

By Simon Webb and Amena Bakr

DOHA, May 9 (Reuters) - Global oil markets are oversupplied but OPEC thinks it is too early for the group to take action to halt a recent decline in prices as fallout from the euro zone debt crisis sets in.

OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri said on Sunday global oil markets were oversupplied, urging greater compliance among members of the group.

"We have a lot of crude oil on land and offshore," Badri told reporters on the sidelines of the Arab Energy conference in Doha.

"OPEC already took action in December 2008 to reduce 4.2 million barrels (a day)," he told reporters. "We just have to abide by that...I am calling for more compliance."

U.S. crude oil futures CLc1 settled at $75.11 a barrel on Friday, posting their largest weekly loss in almost a year and a half, as worries grew that the euro zone's debt crisis might derail the global economic recovery.

Crude also hit its lowest level since Feb. 16th on Friday at $74.51, after going over $87 a barrel early in the week.

Badri said the drop in oil prices was linked to speculative play as the market was weighed down by uncertainty sparked by Greece's debt problems.

He said OPEC had not set any target price when asked if $65 was a trigger for the group to act, a day after the Kuwaiti oil minister said prices at that level would force the group into action.

"We don't have a target price. I think it (price drop) is because of the Greek problem," Badri said.

A senior Gulf OPEC delegate told Reuters the impact of the Greek debt crisis on oil demand would be "limited" and that prices were unlikely to fall below $65 a barrel.

"I don't expect the price to go to $65," the delegate said.

"The economic crisis in Europe will be limited and contained."

WAIT-AND-SEE

Badri said OPEC will take a wait-and-see approach before taking action to stem the sharp drop in prices last week.

"I'm not going to move because the price goes up and down, volatility is the name of the game," he said.

Qatar's Oil Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah also said the group was not yet planning an extraordinary meeting in response to the recent tumble in prices.

OPEC is not scheduled to meet formally until October and has kept oil supply targets steady since late 2008.

Higher prices have encouraged some members to boost output informally, but core Gulf Arab members Saudi, the UAE and Kuwait have stuck to output restraints. [OPEC/O]

Badri also said demand for oil was expected to grow by 900,000 barrels per day in 2010, led by rising appetite from Asia, in particular China and India.

"The economic recovery is proceeding at a satisfactory pace. Oil demand is growing again and is expected to grow by 900,000 barrels per day in 2010," Badri said. (Additional reporting by Regan E. Doherty; Writing by Luke Pachymuthu and Raissa Kasolowsky; Editing by Erica Billingham)