Tuesday, November 6, 2001

LONDON (AP) Alarmed by a relentless slide in oil prices, OPEC members are likely to agree to cut production by as much as 1.4 million barrels a day when the cartel’s delegates meet next week, an OPEC official said yesterday.
Such a cut would be as much as 400,000 barrels a day larger than the potential reduction aired publicly in recent weeks by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
OPEC members are considering cutting output by 1.2 million to 1.4 million barrels a day, or 5 percent to 6 percent of their official production, said the OPEC official, speaking on condition of anonymity from the group’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
“Given the sick market, I think they might need to cut more than 1 million barrels,” the OPEC official said.
The comments came after OPEC Secretary-General Ali Rodriguez told reporters that cuts of more than 1 million barrels a day were a “possibility.” Speaking from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Mr. Rodriguez did not specify the exact size of the possible cuts.
World crude prices have continued to weaken due to the sharp decrease in global economic activity, a slump compounded by the terror attacks on the United States.
On Friday, the price for OPEC’s benchmark blend of seven crudes was $17.81 a barrel, down 30 percent from $25.56 a barrel on Sept. 10 the day before the attacks.
The price for December contracts of North Sea Brent crude slipped 39 cents to $19.38 a barrel on the International Petroleum Exchange in London. December contracts of light sweet crude fell 28 cents to $19.90 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Representatives of OPEC’s 11 member nations plan to meet Wednesday of next week.

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