Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OPEC Governments Must Take Steps to Control Oil / Crude Falls to $19.40

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OPEC Governments Must Take Steps to Control Oil / Crude Falls to $19.40

Article excerpt

VIENNA, Austria - The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries faces so many political obstacles to propping up oil prices that only the heads of its member governments can decide the organization's next moves.

Rilwanu Lukman of Nigeria said he and two other oil ministers would tour all OPEC member countries, starting with Saudi Arabia in early October, to discuss options with ``the highest authority'' in each capital.

Lukman and the Venezuelan and Indonesian oil chiefs will seek the leaders' support for a tightening of OPEC production controls, he said. The tour will Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Algeria, in addition to Saudi Arabia, in early October. The five other capitals will be visited later.

``There are certain things that have to be done ... for which the most serious high-level political positions have to be taken, which only the heads of government and heads of state can take,'' Lukman said.

OPEC needs to act on production controls, as well as decide what official price it will charge next year, at its December meeting, he said. These issues are too politically charged for the oil ministers to settle without direction from highest authorities, he added.

The visits to the 13 OPEC capitals appeared to be an alternative to a formal OPEC summit conference, which is considered virtually impossible as long as cartel partners Iran and Iraq continue their seven-year-old war.

Meanwhile, prices declined on the New York Mercantile Exchange, but analysts disagreed on whether this had anything to do with the meeting's results or not.

October prices for West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark U.S. crude, closed Friday at $19.40 per 42-gallon barrel, down 27 cents from Thursday.

The national leaders will be asked to endorse a proposal for on-site inspection - perhaps by outside officials - of member countries' oil production. …

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