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Kuwait Petroleum Corp expects oil prices to soften by mid-2014 Iran says crude prices not likely to change much this year

NEW DELHI, Jan 13, (RTRS): Crude oil prices could soften by mid-2014 due to some weakness in demand, Nizar Al-Adsani, chief executive of state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC), told reporters on Monday. “... Prices are still healthy above $100. Demand is still there. Demand will definitely soften up. They’ll probably soften up in the mid of this year,” Al-Adsani said on the sidelines of an energy conference in New Delhi.
Brent crude edged lower toward $107 a barrel on Monday after six nations struck a fresh six-month deal with Iran to curb its nuclear programme and US President Barack Obama urged Congress not to impose additional sanctions on the country. Kuwait is a member of OPEC, which agreed in December to renew its 30 million barrels per day (bpd) output cap for the first half of 2014 as disruptions to supplies prop up prices.

Meanwhile, crude oil prices are not likely to change dramatically this year, Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh told his ministry’s news service Shana on Monday. “I don’t think oil prices will change too much over the course of the current year,” Zanganeh told Shana. If prices do fall sharply, Iran would push for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to reduce their production, he said. Benchmark Brent crude oil has traded in a range of around $103-117 per barrel since early July 2013 and has not traded significantly below $100 since May 1, 2013.

Iran has based its budget bill for the next financial year, which begins in late March, on $100 oil, Shana reported. With crude prices hovering above $100/bbl for most of the last 18 months, OPEC oil producers have not felt the need to reduce their collective output ceiling of 30 million barrels per day (bpd). Oil prices have been supported by over 1 million bpd of Iranian output being shut out from the global market by western sanctions over the last 18 months, and more recently by protests in Libya that have helped keep OPEC’s production below the ceiling for the last three months.

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