OPEC calls special meeting amid calls for output cut
AFP - Saturday, November 15
VIENNA (AFP) - - OPEC announced on Friday it will hold a special meeting in two weeks' time amid pressure within its ranks for a further output cut to bolster falling prices as economic recession spreads.
"We confirm the Cairo meeting," an OPEC spokesman said of a report the organisation would meet on November 29, adding that the session would last only one day.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed on October 24 to reduce production by 1.5 million barrels a day from November 1, but prices have continued to fall.
Any further move by OPEC to cut output would be highly controversial because it would be seen by consuming countries as a prop for oil prices and therefore certain to accelerate deepening recession in leading economies.
Brent North Sea crude for January fell 54 cents to 55.70 dollars on London's InterContinental Exchange (ICE).
The Brent December contract expired Thursday at 51.99 dollars after hitting 50.60 dollars -- the lowest level since May 2005.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), light sweet crude for December delivery fell 36 cents to 57.88 dollars a barrel, after hitting 54.67 dollars on Thursday, a level last seen in January 2007.
Crude oil prices have plummeted about two-thirds since striking record peaks above 147 dollars in July on concern that a prolonged global recession could slam the brakes on energy demand.
The dive has sparked alarm among the OPEC cartel whose members pump 40 percent of the world's crude supplies.
The November 29 meeting was reported by Algeria's APS service which said that members of OPEC would gather on the sidelines of talks by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC).
"Since we are about 10 or nine... who are members of OAPEC, who are also members of OPEC, that happen to be in Cairo, so why not consult also on the market situation?" Libya's Oil Minister Shukri Ghanem had told AFP on Thursday.
Pressure is growing by some OPEC members, notably Iran, to further cut production.
"In light of dwindling oil prices and instability in the market, Iran will support an oil production cut," Iran's cartel representative Mohammad Ali Khatibi was quoted by the country's Mehr news agency as saying.
"If the current trend (decrease in prices) continues, the members will cut production in order to bring back stability to the market," he added.
The cartel, which will also meet as scheduled in Oran, Algeria on December 17, has made it clear it would consider another output reduction if the oil price remains below 70 dollars a barrel.
The International Energy Agency reported on Thursday that global demand for oil is being severely crimped by the effects of approaching recession.
While further slashing its estimates of global demand growth in its monthly report, the IEA noted that despite recent price falls to the 60-dollar range, prices on futures contracts still hovered around 85 dollars a barrel.
It slashed its own assumptuions for the average price of oil next year from 110 to 80 dollars per barrel.
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OPEC will hold a special meeting in Cairo on November 29. The oil cartel will hold a special meeting in Cairo on November 29 a spokesman for the organisation said on Friday amid some pressure in its ranks, notably from Iran, for a new output cut to hold up prices.
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