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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

OPEC: Oil Won't Drop Below $22

CAIRO, Egypt -- The world's top oil exporter Saudi Arabia said Saturday that OPEC would release more supply onto world markets if prices stayed above the cartel's $22-28 a barrel target range until mid-January.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said the 11-member group remained committed to a "fair price," and would deploy an informal output mechanism to tame a price rally fueled by an extended Venezuelan oil shutdown and fears of war in Iraq.

"We have said many times we are dedicated to preventing shortages, we are dedicated to stabilizing the market, we are committed to a fair price," Naimi told reporters on the sidelines of an Arab oil ministers' meeting in Cairo.

Under an informal output mechanism, OPEC aims to keep the price of its basket of crudes in the $22-$28 per barrel range by increasing supply if prices exceed the range's upper end for 20 days.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries last week set a new output target of 23 million barrels per day for its 10 members with output restrictions. Sanctions-bound Iraq exports some 2 million bpd more under a United Nations oil-for-food deal.

"We have a mechanism to trigger when it is necessary," Naimi said.