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OPEC Chief Calls on Oil Producers to Avert Price `Catastrophe'

London, Nov. 23 -- OPEC Secretary General Ali Rodriguez called on OPEC and independent producers to work together to curb output to prevent a ``catastrophe'' in oil prices, the group said in a statement.

Russia earlier today defied OPEC calls to slash production, agreeing to a token cut of 50,000 barrels a day, or 0.7 percent, for the rest of the year and deferring a decision on output next year. Brent crude oil fell as much as 6.5 percent, or $1.30 a barrel, to $18.60 after the announcement.

``With the global economic downturn forecast to continue, it is imperative that all oil producers act now to prevent what could be a catastrophe in the market later,'' Rodriguez said in the statement on the OPEC news agency. He provided no details on the production cuts OPEC wants from rivals.

The 11-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries earlier this month said it will cut oil production by 1.5 million barrels a day starting next year if non-members such as Mexico, Norway and Russia contribute another 500,000 barrels a day. OPEC leaders have said the group won't act alone.

Norway offered an oil output reduction of as much as 200,000 barrels a day yesterday, while Mexico said earlier this week it could contribute half as much. Oman, a Persian Gulf State outside the 11-member group, said it would also cut production.

``OPEC welcomes these commitments from our non-OPEC colleagues, which are seen as genuine measures of support for helping to solve the current problems in the oil market,'' Rodriguez said.

Sat, 24 Nov 2001, 8:48am EST

Petroleum ($/bbl) Price Change
arrow Nymex Crude 18.96 -0.19
arrow IPE Crude 19.28 -0.62
arrow Dated Brent $ 19.48 -0.62
arrow WTI Cushing $ 17.96 -0.59
arrow Nymex Heating oil 53.42 -0.34
arrow Nymex Gasoline 52.73 -0.08
Natural Gas ($/MMBtu) Price Change
arrow Nymex Henry Hub 2.81 -0.04
arrow Henry Hub $ 1.87 -0.71
arrow Chicago City Gate $ 1.90 -0.70
Electricity ($/megawatt hour) Price Change
  COB, firm on-peak $ 22.25 --
  Palo Verde, firm on-peak $ 21.34 --
  Cinergy, firm on-peak $ 20.07 --

$ = CASH
Prices are delayed; change based on previous close.


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