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Market, not OPEC, will set fair oil price: UAE official

DUBAI (Reuters) – Market fundamentals and high-cost crude producers, rather than OPEC, are the ones that will set a fair price for oil in coming months, a United Arab Emirates oil official said on Tuesday.

“The way I see it, it is the market which will dictate the oil price. Prices are driven by supply and demand … marginal fields are going to set the (fair) price,” said Mubarak al-Ketbi, deputy director of the marketing and refining directorate at state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.

“OPEC is not a price setter. The market will set the price,” Ketbi told the Platts Middle East Crude Oil Summit in Dubai, declining to comment later on any specific oil price target for the UAE, a core Gulf OPEC producer.

Prices have fallen more than 40 percent since June and Brent crude for January delivery hit $65.33 a barrel on Tuesday, its lowest since September 2009.

At a meeting last month, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided against reducing production, despite its own forecasts of a surplus and calls from members including Iran and Venezuela for output cuts to shore up prices.

On Monday, the head of Kuwait’s state oil company predicted that oil prices were likely to remain around $65 for the next six to seven months, echoing the views of other Gulf OPEC delegates who saw oil hovering around $65-70 for a few months before bouncing back to around $80.

(Reporting by Rania El Gamal; Editing by William Maclean and Dale Hudson)

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