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OPEC consider sharp production cuts

Latest update : 2008-10-17

Britain's Prime minister Gordon Brown described as "absolutely scandalous" the announcement made by Qatari energy minister that the OPEC country could cut crude oil production by at least one million barrels a day.

Qatar's energy minister predicted that OPEC will cut oil output by at least one million barrels a day at its emergency meeting next week after crude prices tumbled below 70 dollars.

"I believe, personally, that it could be one million barrels or more. At least one million barrels, but I cannot confirm," Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said in an interview with Al-Jazeera television aired on Friday.

"We will look into our forecasts for supply and demand," he said, referring to the ministerial meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which has been brought forward from November to October 24.

Oil prices had reached a peak of 147 dollars a barrel earlier this year but slumped below 70 dollars on Thursday for the first time in more than a year, dragged down by prospects for reduced demand in the face of a global economic slowdown brought on by the world financial turmoil.

On Friday, oil prices recovered slightly following news the OPEC meeting was being brought forward. New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for November delivery, rose 2.50 dollars to 72.35 dollars per barrel.

Gas-rich Qatar is a member of OPEC.

Date created : 2008-10-17