LONDON — OPEC pinched the oil market a little harder in April, reducing crude output to 23.29 million barrels a day from 23.46 million barrels in March, according to a Reuters survey of oil industry experts released Friday.
The reduction in output and rising oil prices will lessen disagreement when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries holds its next meeting in Vienna on May 20 to set output for the second half of the year.
Oil prices are now about $2 higher than in February, when the oil ministers set a target of 22.98 million barrels a day. On Friday, crude oil for June delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange hovered around $21 a barrel. OPEC would have produced less oil if it had not been for the dispute over Libya's refusal to hand over two men accused of bombing a Pan Am airliner over Scotland, analysts said.
Libya is selling more oil because it is concerned that the United Nations might extend its arms and air travel embargo to its oil trade.
Analysts said Libyan supplies reached 1.55 million barrels a day, or about 100,000 barrels more than in March and 150,000 higher than its OPEC quota.