Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OPEC Ministers May Meet over Sagging Oil Prices

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OPEC Ministers May Meet over Sagging Oil Prices

Article excerpt

LONDON (AP) - Oil futures prices continued their gyrations Thursday after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries acting president said the cartel ministers were weighing various steps, including an emergency meeting, to try to halt the slide in world oil prices.

Market rumors that OPEC was considering a meeting to deal with the price declines, which have trimmed $3 a barrel in recent weeks, helped support the market on Wednesday, with prices finishing higher in erratic trading.

But on Thursday prices kept fluctuating wildly and in late trading were down from Wednesday's close.

Analysts said they were skeptical the oil ministers would take effective steps against the recent steep price drop and predicted weak prices over the near term.

``I think it's really all noise and very little action,'' said Geoff Pyne, an oil analyst with the London investment firm UBS Philips and Drew.

Prices have fallen more sharply than usual during the traditional spring slump, when demand generally drops among consumer nations. Analysts blame the recent price drop on overproduction by some OPEC members.

Acting OPEC President Sadek Boussena said he had been conducting ``intensive consultations'' with his fellow ministers about the price slide.

Options under consideration included an urgent meeting of the eight-member ministerial monitoring committee and an extraordinary meeting of all 13 members, he said.

OPEC's monitoring committee studies oil market conditions and makes policy recommendations to the full OPEC conference. While it formally has only the eight members, its sessions tend to be attended by all OPEC ministers.

The acting president, who is Algeria's oil minister, made the comments in an official statement released Thursday by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' Vienna secretariat.

OPEC's 13 oil ministers have a full meeting scheduled for May 25 to set their output and price for the second half of the year. …

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