OPEC is well-known especially for people who work in this industry, and which is also unpredictable and quarrelsome in the past, but will do when it meets next week.
The producer cartel, say delegates who attend meetings, is odds on to leave output policy unchanged. As a risk factor for oil markets, its May 31 gathering in Vienna barely features on traders' radar.
One reason is that Brent oil prices are very close to top producer Saudi Arabia's favored $100 a barrel. While it is expensive by historical standards, is well below the $125 price.
An International Energy Agency report released earlier this month forecast U.S. shale oil supply will help meet most of the world's new demand in the next five years, leaving little room for OPEC to lift output without risking lower prices.North America's supply growth will cause a decline in demand for OPEC oil until the end of the decade and a build-up of its spare capacity.
Only a year ago, the shale boom was dismissed by OPEC as of little concern. Kuwait's oil minister Hani Hussein said producers would "wait to see more research to get a better idea about the impact of shale oil".
OPEC delegates say the 12-member group's meeting will stick with an output target of 30 million barrels per day (bpd).
"The price is still reasonable, and not less than $100," said a delegate from one of OPEC's Gulf members. "So it looks very straightforward. Continue with the official production ceiling and make informal adjustments, if necessary."
OPEC used to give traders more to worry about. In the early 2000s it met as many as seven times a year compared to just twice now, often making surprise decisions as it tried to micro-manage oil markets. But it may not be out of the headlines for long.
Next year we can see a drop in world demand for OPEC oil."We're heading for a problem in 2014 and we'll probably have to make a supply cut," said a senior OPEC source".