OPEC Prepares to Slash Output

Saudis lead push for record cut to pump prices to $75 a barrel
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2008 1:46 AM CST
An unidentified oil worker checks a pipe into a waste oil pit in the Persian Gulf desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain, last month.   (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)
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(Newser) – OPEC ministers are expected to back the biggest reduction in oil production in the history of the cartel when they meet today, Reuters reports. The exporters widely support a cut of 2 million barrels a day. Oil prices neared $43 per barrel yesterday, down over $100 from July. Officals from Saudi Arabia, which heads the cartel, are seeking action expected to boost prices to $75 a barrel.

Russia is also expected to make cuts in line with OPEC, which would shrink world oil production a total of some 3%. Earlier cuts in output have failed to lift oil prices amid sagging demand. Observers estimated that  just over half the group's nations complied with the production reduction. This time around, "we are in harmony, we know the situation is difficult," said OPEC's secretary-general. "We have to reach a difficult decision, but we're going to reach it.