OPEC ministers hint at output cut in Cairo talks

November 29th, 2008 - 10:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Cairo, Nov 29 (DPA) Arab oil producing countries belonging to the oil cartel OPEC strongly hinted at a forthcoming production cutback decision by the cartel amid worries about falling oil prices.Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, talking after a meeting of the Arab oil countries’ sub-group OAPEC, indicated the sentiment for a production cutback at the forthcoming OPEC ministerial meeting on Dec 17 in Algeria.

“We will decide on a firm measure when we meet in Algeria,” he told reporters, remarking that a cut is possible.

Several oil ministers expressed Saturday their discontent with the current oil prices, and called for all oil exporting countries to cooperate in order to help to restore prices back to normal.

Ten ministers of the 11-member OAPEC attended the meeting, the exception being Syria’s oil minister. His representative said he could not attend due to “emergency reasons.” He did not elaborate.

Qatari Oil and Gas Minister Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah called for cooperation between OAPEC and OPEC members. He said his country believes prices should be between $75 and $100 per barrel.

Friday, OPEC’s secretariat in Vienna reported that its average price Thursday was $47.38 per barrel. The price had dropped by more than $10 since Nov 24, despite the cartel’s decision on that day to cut production by 1.5 million barrels per day.

Saudi King Abdullah said in an interview appearing Saturday in the Kuwaiti paper As-Seyassah that he consider a “fair price” would be $75 per barrel.

After the OAPEC meeting, a “consultativeā€ meeting with OPEC was slated to take place.

“These two meetings come at a decisive time for the Oil industry amid the decline of world oil prices,” Egyptian Oil Minister Sameh Fahmy told reporters. Egypt will head the OAPEC ministerial meeting in 2009 after Libya.

OAPEC has 11 members, seven of which also belong to OPEC. Fahmy said that in addition to those seven oil ministers, OPEC non-members Syria and Egypt would take part in the meeting with OPEC.

Meanwhile, Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari told reporters that his country believed current prices “are totally unfair” and that the current stage needs full cooperation from all oil producing countries.

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani told reporters that his country backed a cutback in production in order to help stop the steady decline of prices worldwide. He added that Iraq was seeking a “fair oil price.” Iraq isn’t bound by OPEC quotas.

OPEC president Chakib Khelil told reporters that some countries were currently finding “no buyer for their crude,” adding that some oil needs to be taken off the market.

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