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
``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