OPEC STICKS TO OIL CUTS, BUT BIG PICTURE STILL UNCLEAR

OPEC STICKS TO OIL CUTS, BUT BIG PICTURE STILL UNCLEAR

BY RICHARD MABLY

REUTERSOPEC producers are mostly making good on their promises to drain off some of the world's oil surplus but the full impact of the cuts won't be clear for a few weeks yet, oil experts said Tuesday.

Supply from the 10 Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members that agreed to the cuts at a March emergency meeting has fallen a full million barrels a day.

''By and large, they're doing what they said they'd do, but so far at least it doesn't seem to be enough,'' said an oil company official.

OPEC ministers indicated they would consider further cuts if prices failed to recover by their June meeting in Vienna. The picture is complicated by Iraq, not included in OPEC's agreement to remove 1.245 million barrels a day, in an alliance with non-OPEC producers, beginning April 1.

Unfortunately for the rest of OPEC, extra United Nations-monitored exports have added 350,000 barrels a day to Iraqi supplies since February. Baghdad is expected to hit a post-Gulf War record of 2.1 million barrels daily in April.

Monitors say the net change for OPEC oil output so far in April is about 630,000 barrels a day less than than in February. March output was little changed from February.

First-half April production was estimated at about 28.1 million barrels a day vs. 28.73 million in February, according to a Reuters survey of industry monitors and officials.