Published On: Tue, Jun 23rd, 2009

OPEC president says goal is still for $75 oil

OPEC president Angola said the group’s goal was still to achieve $75 a barrel by the end of the year, echoing earlier comment by leading exporter Saudi Arabia that the level was achievable without damaging a fragile world economy.

“It’s the goal to achieve this price,” Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos, who is also Angolan oil minister, told reporters on his arrival in Vienna on Monday ahead of talks on Tuesday between the European Union and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Asked whether the aim was to hit $75 before the end of the year, he said “yes.”

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi established that level as a goal at OPEC’s most recent meeting in May.

U.S. crude earlier this month hit a high above $73 a barrel, but on Tuesday fell back to around $67.

OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri, who greeted the OPEC president on his arrival in Vienna, said it was too soon to say whether OPEC might consider changing its output ceiling when it next meets in September.

He said compliance with existing production targets was 75 percent, lower than levels of around 80 percent hit earlier this year, but he said he understood discipline was becoming more strict.

“Compliance is 75 percent …. a step-down from last time,” he said.

“I hope this month will be okay … The information I have is that everyone is improving their compliance.”