The oil cartel said in its latest monthly oil market report released July 14 that lower projected demand for its crude would increase its surplus production capacity which, combined with increased idle refining capacity, would be enough to compensate for any sudden demand surge or supply disruption.
"Given the projected outlook, increasing OPEC spare capacity and growing idle refining capacity should be sufficient to offset any sudden surge in demand or supply disruption in either crude or products," OPEC said, without giving figures for its current or projected surplus capacity levels.
"This reduces the likelihood of fundamental factors exerting strong upward pressure on prices in 2010."
Although OPEC sees world oil demand growing by 500,000 b/d in 2010, it expects this to be satisfied by non-OPEC producers and sees demand for its own crude falling by 400,000 b/d next year on top of the 2.3 million b/d drop in demand between 2008 and 2009.
With current crude production -- estimated at 28.44 million b/d in June -- more than 300,000 b/d than the 28.1 million b/d projected 2010 call on OPEC crude, the cartel will have food for thought at its next meeting, scheduled for September 9 in Vienna.