Mexico and four other independent oil-producing nations stung by the collapse of oil prices told pleading OPEC leaders today that they wanted to help the beleaguered cartel reverse the market's slide but gave no commitments.
After a first round of talks, the two groups said they had agreed only on the need to impose new limits on their production to prop up prices.
"We're in the same boat," Iranian oil minister Gholamreza Aghazadeh told reporters during a break in the talks.
Oil ministers from the 13 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries met briefly with representatives from Mexico, Malaysia, Egypt, Oman and Angola. After a recess, the cartel assigned five ministers to continue the talks with the five non-OPEC emissaries.
During the break, the head of the Malaysian delegation, Datuk Rastum Hadi, told reporters that he was not authorized to commit Malaysia to specific cuts in oil production.
In three days of discussions beginning Sunday, the OPEC ministers managed to agree only that they should revert to restraints on their production in hopes of drying up the oil glut.
But there were no indications today that the OPEC leaders could reach agreement on specific cuts in their own production. They appeared divided on the key questions of how deeply they should cut and how to share the sacrifice.