Iran official sees OPEC discussing output in Dec

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TEHRAN, Nov 17 (Reuters) A senior Iranian oil official said on Saturday OPEC would ''most likely'' discuss the issue of whether to increase output at its meeting in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 5, state broadcaster IRIB reported.

''Most likely the issue of increasing production and other issues related to the crude oil market will be discussed at OPEC's emergency meeting ... in Abu Dhabi,'' Mohammad Ali Khatibi, deputy director of international affairs at the state oil company National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), told IRIB.

Officials from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have made clear a summit of OPEC heads of state in Riyadh that ends on Sunday would leave any decision on whether to raise output to the Abu Dhabi meeting.

''America's request for OPEC to increase its production ceiling will not be answered in the ... meeting of heads of state,'' Khatibi said.

The United States has urged OPEC to boost production because of shrinking oil inventory levels in developed economies and to help bring down prices that have surged to record levels.

Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said on Thursday international markets had sufficient crude supply, and increasing OPEC's output would not bring down prices.

On Friday, Nozari said it was too early to predict what action OPEC might take when it meets in Abu Dhabi, leaving the door open for a possible production rise to cool prices.

Oil has risen nearly 40 percent since mid-August, hitting a record .62 last week.

Nigeria's oil minister has also said a production rise could be discussed in Abu Dhabi, but Venezuelan oil minister Rafael Ramirez, one of the group's traditionally hawkish members who favours higher prices, said there was no need for more oil.

REUTERS BJR VC1900

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