Opec ministers back cut in oil production


Opec oil ministers lined up today to support the removal of 1 million barrels a day (bpd) of crude from oversupplied world markets as swiftly as possible.

Iran, Opec's second biggest producer, and Algeria publicly backed the reduction - the cartel's first since April 2004.

The plan was made public on Thursday by a senior Opec (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) delegate. "I think there is more or less consensus for 1 million bpd," Opec President Edmund Daukoru said.

"The reference point is the [official] 28 million bpd ceiling."

Algerian Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil also said the cartel had reached a consensus to lower output. This would have a positive impact on the market, he added.

Oil fell below $60 a barrel on Friday as investors doubted Opec's resolve to cut, given the absence of an official statement.

Opec is due for a scheduled meeting on December 14th in Nigeria, but some members want to hold an emergency session before the end of this month.

"What is important is that the market finds the Opec position credible. That is why it is necessary to have a meeting to make a decision on the cut and to act on it," said Mr Khelil.

Iran's official IRNA news agency reported today that Iranian oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh said Opec would cut its production ceiling but did not give details about the scale of reduction,