The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed Friday to keep output stable, prompting a slight boost in prices.
Global prices were bumped up nearly US$1 a barrel after OPEC announced it would maintain its production quota at 30 million barrels a day (bpd). The move was widely expected, but quashed simmering concerns the organization could increase production – a measure that would likely draw support from Saudi Arabia, and fierce opposition from Iran, Venezuela, Ecuador and Algeria.
“I think it's more a sigh of relief: keeping the ceiling at 30 million bpd, which it has been since November,” Kash Kamal, senior analyst at brokerage Sucden Financial in London told Reuters.
Oil prices collapsed in the aftermath of the November 2014 meeting, but have crept up since reaching a six year low of US$45 in January 2015.
Global prices are now hovering closer to US$60, a price considered unfair by critics of the high output quota.
Leading up to Friday’s ministerial meeting, Ecuador's oil minister Pedro Merizalde said he wanted to see an oil price that suited both producers and consumers.
"Producers and consumers (should) have a price that both sides will be happy with," he said, adding that he wanted a "balanced price." Meanwhile, during OPEC’s two-day international seminar on Wednesday and Thursday, Venezuelan Oil Minister Asdrubal Chavez advocated for greater cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC member countries in efforts to reach an "equitable" oil price. Chavez went on to add, "Defending the value of our strategic natural non-renewable resources is a duty of oil producing countries to provide our peoples with the greatest happiness possible."
Eyes are now set to turn to OPEC's November 2015 meeting, when the bloc may consider changing its output target.