OPEC's Barkindo says balanced oil market is in sight

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LONDON (Oct 19): Efforts by global oil producers to curb production are helping to speed up the balancing of the crude market, OPEC's secretary-general said on Thursday.

"There is no doubt that this market is rebalancing at an accelerating pace," Mohammad Barkindo said in a speech at the Oil & Money conference in London.

"Stability is steadily returning and there is far more light at the end of the dark tunnel we have been travelling down for the past three years."

Oil prices have fallen by 50% since mid-2014, prompting energy companies to cut back on exploration and producers to curb production.

Producers from OPEC as well as a group of non-OPEC countries led by Russia have agreed to reduce output by 1.8 million barrels per day until March 2018.

That pact is aimed at supporting prices and reducing oil stock levels in OECD industrialised countries to their five-year average.

Stock levels in September were about 160 million barrels above that average, Barkindo said, which is down from 340 million in January.