Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Rashid renewed Tuesday, October 30 a demand for OPEC to slash production immediately by one million barrels per day (bpd) and hit out at US pressure on the cartel.
"An immediate reduction in output of one million bpd should not even have to be discussed," he told the Al-Rafidayn weekly newspaper. "Pressure brought to bear by the United States on OPEC to maintain low prices must be rejected," Rashid stressed.
"Given that a reduction of 500,00 bpd, in line with the OPEC price band mechanism, is no longer current and given that the price of the OPEC reference basket has fallen these last three weeks to below $22 a barrel, we should immediately cut production by one million bpd," Rashid explained.The market situation should then be studied at the OPEC ministerial meeting on November 14 in Vienna, he added.
"The five-dollar a barrel fall in prices has already caused enormous losses to OPEC member countries, including $10 billion to Saudi Arabia and four billion to Iraq," Rashid said.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is preparing to cut output from November 14 but the size of the reduction is still under discussion and efforts are underway to bring non-OPEC countries to reduce output too.
Experts from the 11-member OPEC held talks with six non-OPEC states, notably key producers Russia and Norway, on Monday after OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates indicated at the weekend would take place.
Amid fears of a collapse in crude prices such as that which followed the 1998 Asian financial crisis -- when prices fell below $10 per barrel -- OPEC has warned of a disaster if non-OPEC producers do not coordinate action. — (AFP, Bagdad)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )