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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

OPEC Chief Wants to Keep June Output Deal

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- OPEC president Ali Rodriguez insisted Monday that the cartel stick to a June agreement to raise crude production, but he later said output could be hiked if necessary.

Asked about a plan by Saudi Arabia to head the pumping of an extra 500,000 barrels per day if high oil prices did not ease soon f which was announced last week by the kingdom's oil minister, Ali al-Naimi f Rodriguez said, "I have no comment at the moment because I will see minister Naimi in the next day or so and we can discuss [this]. ? But we had an agreement at the last meeting, and we have to apply that agreement."

Those comments were made before he met Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid during a visit to Jakarta on Monday.

But he later said the cartel, which accounts for roughly 40 percent of world oil output, was ready to boost production if needed once market conditions had been studied.

It was unclear if that indicated Rodriguez, who is due in Riyadh on Wednesday, had begun to soften his stance toward the plan by heavyweight Saudi Arabia.

The oil market has been anxiously seeking confirmation of that planned hike in crude production.

Al-Naimi stunned the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries last week with the plan, but said the kingdom would not act before consulting other members of the 11-member cartel.

The plan drew an angry response from some OPEC members who in June agreed to a 708,000 bpd output rise. That pact failed to move prices down toward the cartel's $25 a barrel target.

Saudi Arabia's move has cut prices a little but benchmark Brent crude remains highly priced f valued at $29.70 a barrel at the close of business Friday.

On Saturday, OPEC secretary-general Rilwanu Lukman said more supplies from the cartel might be needed to tame prices.