Oil prices fall as Opec keeps production levels on hold

Jessica Morris
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Opec is fighting to retain its market share (Source: Getty)

Oil prices fell after Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries' (Opec) held production at 30m barrels per day at its meeting in Vienna today.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, jumped 80 cents to $62.83 a barrel before paring gains slightly. U.S. crude rose 30 cents to $58.30 a barrel.

Comments from ministers made at the so-called press "gang bang" which takes places beforehand suggested that there's little desire to alter production levels.

Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali al-Naimi said that he was confident production from marginal fields outside of OPEC would fall even at current prices.

And the UAE'S energy minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui said Opec made the right decision in November, adding that it will "take time to rebalance the markets".

The so-called "press gang bang" in full swing (Source: Getty)

Opec shocked commentators by holding production at its last meeting, despite tumbling global oil prices.

This was pushed for by Saudi Arabia as a means of retaining market share and curtailing the growth of the burgeoning US shale gas industry.

The cartel had generally able to control oil prices by increasing or decreasing production - in response to whichever direction they're heading in.

Oil prices fell as low as $45 per barrel in January, down from a peak of around $116 per barrel in June - however they've since recovered slightly to trade around $65 per barrel.

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