OPEC meets Wednesday under pressure to raise quotas

The headquarters of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Jeremy Hobson: One of the peskiest results of our economic recovery has been the rising cost of oil. It means gas is more expensive and consumers have less money to spend on other things. Well tomorrow the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, is meeting in Vienna to consider an urgent request to crank up production so prices can come down.

Our Washington Bureau Chief John Dimsdale says don't get your hopes up.


John Dimsdale: Oil is dear for a whole bunch of reasons. Civil war in Libya, demand from booming emerging markets and a weak dollar. Ruchir Kadakia at Cambridge Energy Research Associates says there's not much oil exporters can do about it.

Ruchir Kadakia: We are driving the oil market right now on a lot of components that OPEC is not able to control.

Still oil importers say if OPEC would raise its production targets, prices would fall. That would help lagging economies, like the U.S. and Europe, recover. Oil analyst Peter Beutel at Cameron Hanover says only Saudi Arabia has any excess capacity right now.

Peter Beutel: The Saudis want to go ahead and have a higher quota because that will officially give them a higher proportion of the market share. The Iranians are dead set against it because they can't increase the amount that they produce.

But Beutel says OPEC is already exceeding its production quotas. Raising them would just make it official and wouldn't bring oil prices down.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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