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September 1, 2009

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UAE oil firm to relax curb on supplies

THE United Arab Emirates' main oil exporter will ease up on OPEC-led supply curbs, a possible sign the Arab Gulf nation will not push for new cuts when the oil producing group meets next month.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company told customers on Sunday that starting in October, it will let them load 15 percent less oil than normal levels, according to a report by the state news agency, WAM.

ADNOC customers for this month and next have been restricted to lifting 19 percent below their usual levels, a step the company took in line with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' decision late last year to slash output by 4.2 million barrels from September 2008 levels.

The state-owned company pumps nearly all the UAE's oil, and so is largely responsible for instituting production cutbacks agreed to by the OPEC member.

Raja Kiwan, a Dubai-based oil analyst with consultancy PFC Energy, estimated the increased production would add about 90,000 to 100,000 barrels per day to world supplies, but is "not a game changer," particularly since several OPEC members are pumping above their quotas.

"The cheaters who have gotten a free ride this year will continue to cheat while those shouldering the largest cuts including the UAE will hold steadfast until unanimous consensus emerges that as a group output can rise with improving fundamentals," he said.

Nawal al-Fuzeih, a senior Kuwaiti oil official, said earlier this month that OPEC's Arab Gulf members - Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE - have been especially true to their pledges to lower production.

The 12-member body has traditionally struggled to convince all its members to adhere to agreed production levels that are designed to limit world oil supply.


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