VIENNA -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has ruled out any change in production at its meeting this week but has a consensus to cut output in March, oil ministers said yesterday.
Saudi Arabia's Ali Naimi, one of the most influential voices in OPEC, said that all 11 OPEC members agreed they will keep the daily output quota unchanged at 28 million barrels when they meet today.
Asked if they had reached consensus on keeping output steady, Ali Naimi replied: ''Yes, we're all in agreement."
Venezuelan oil minister Rafael Ramirez said: ''There will be no cut at this meeting."
Qatari oil minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said that ''all options are open" for the March meeting, while Ramirez said OPEC had reached a consensus to be ready for a cut.
Light sweet crude for March delivery rose 59 cents to settle at $68.35 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. March Brent crude on London's ICE Futures exchange climbed 35 cents to close at $66.59 a barrel.
On the Nymex, heating oil futures rose 2.69 cents to settle at $1.8338 a gallon, while gasoline futures added 3.85 cents to settle at $1.7749 a gallon.
Natural gas futures gained 88.2 cents to $9.389 per 1,000 cubic feet.