Oil output hike possible in December: OPEC chief

LONDON: OPEC will consider ramping up crude oil production at its next meeting in December if key conditions are met, secretary-general Abdalla Salem El-Badri said here on Thursday.

The cartel "will not hesitate to increase its production in December", he told reporters, adding the decision was dependent on higher oil prices, improving economic growth and no floating storage of crude.

The 12-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), whose members pump 40 percent of the world's crude oil supplies, will hold their next meeting in Luanda, Angola, on December 22.

El-Badri meanwhile spoke one day after New York oil prices had surged to a one-year high point of 82 dollars per barrel on the back of the weak dollar and falling US energy inventories.

"If these prices will continue, if we see the stocks go back to the normal level... if we see there is a real world economy growth, then I am sure our member countries will take the decision to increase the production in December in Luanda," he told a press briefing in London on Thursday.

He added that an increase in output was conditional upon "signs of economic growth improving and no floating storage" of crude oil.

Earlier this week, El-Badri had stated that 60-70 dollars per barrel would not be enough to fund adequate investment levels by OPEC.

The OPEC chief was in London this week to attend Oil & Money 2009, a London conference for the world's energy industry. The two-day event drew to a close on Wednesday.

Oil prices tumbled from historic highs of more than 147 dollars in July 2008 to about 32 dollars in December because of the global recession but have since clawed back ground on economic recovery hopes.