Opec members seek emergency meeting

By Carola Hoyos

Almost half the members of the Opec oil cartel are considering an emergency meeting in Vienna next month as oil prices dropped to their lowest level in nearly a year.

Almost half the members of cartel have in the past few days called on the group to act to halt the slide before their next official meeting scheduled to take place in Algeria in late December.

Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Iraq, Venezuela and Ecuador, whose economies tend to be most dependent on high oil prices and whose ministers are among the most hawkish of the 13-member group, have all lobbied for the cartel to drop output.

Their calls came as oil consuming nations moved to bolster their economies in a co-ordinated interest rate cut.

Oil prices on Wednesday resumed their slide towards $85 a barrel, a level last reached in December last year.

Nymex November West Texas Intermediate fell $3.06 to $87 a barrel, while ICE November Brent slid $2.96 to $81.

Opec’s next meeting was scheduled for December 18 in Algeria, but ministers are now saying they could meet on November 18 in Vienna, site of the group’s headquarters.

Opec controls nearly 40 per cent of the world’s oil supply, and at its meeting last month pledged to reduce its production by about 500,000 barrels a day in an attempt to boost prices. So far the group’s reduction has fallen far from that mark, but slowing production often takes more than a few weeks.

The world consumes about 87m barrels a day of oil.

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