EU officials and OPEC met in Vienna yesterday for an “Energy Dialogue”. The EU argued that oil prices were about as high as consumers could bear, challenging OPEC to lift restrictions on production. OPEC retaliated that the oil market is already “well supplied.”

Talks between the groups ended on a conciliatory note, however, with the EU promising to share more data with OPEC about consumption forecasts.

During the meeting, the EU also expressed concern about expected seasonal increase in demand coupled with possible supply disruptions — such as strikes in Nigeria — over the next few months that could lead to “tightening” in the oil market.

OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem el-Badri said Wednesday that the group is in no position to alleviate current prices because the issue is not supplies but refinery problems.

The next meeting between EU and OPEC officials is to be held in Brussels in June 2008.