Derek Brower, VIENNA: When the biggest excitement around an
Opec meeting is about a technocratic appointment to head the
group's secretariat, oil traders can rest easy. Opec meets in
Vienna on 12 December with oil consistently trading within a
price range that should satisfy both the group's price hawks -
Algeria, Iran, Iraq and Venezuela - and the doves of the Gulf,
led by Saudi Arabia. That suggests the group will roll over its
30 million barrel a day (b/d) production ceiling tomorrow. Any
efforts - possibly led by Iran - to persuade Opec to lower the
ceiling will be rejected by Saudi Arabia, the group's lynchpin.
The Kingdom has spent the past eight months insisting that
prices should ease back towards $100/b to help struggling
consumer economies. It has not yet changed its mind. In the
afternoon on 11 December, front-month Brent was trading up at
around $107.80 a...