OPEC’s price monitoring committee ended a two-day emergency session Monday by calling for prompt action to reverse the sharp decline in world oil prices but stopped short of calling for a special meeting of the full 13-member cartel.
In a communique released at the conclusion of the meeting, the oil ministers also said it was essential that a joint meeting of the price committee and its long-term strategy committee be held to review existing OPEC strategies and objectives.
“No lasting stability in the world oil market can be achieved without concrete cooperation by the non-OPEC oil-producing countries and their contribution in regulating world supplies of oil in line with demand,” the price committee said.
OPEC Secretary General Subroto of Indonesia, speaking to reporters at a news conference after the meeting, underscored the committee’s statement saying that the cause of the recent fall in oil prices was “mainly due to a significant overproduction of some OPEC countries as well as non-OPEC oil producers.”
Subroto said the ministers would decide after the joint meeting whether a special session of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries should be called before its regularly scheduled meeting Nov. 21 in Vienna.
Oil futures prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange, which had risen earlier in the day, began falling immediately after Subroto’s statements then recovered slightly, analysts said. One broker said Subroto’s comments were interpreted as indicating that OPEC was unwilling to take immediate action to restrain output and boost prices.
On the Merc, West Texas Intermediate soared by as much as 46 cents a barrel in early trading but closed the day ahead by just 2 cents to $14.20 a barrel.
The price committee meeting was called in response to the recent slump in world oil prices, which earlier this month hit their lowest level since summer 1986, when they fell below $10 a barrel.
According to many analysts, sagging prices represent the failure of nearly all OPEC members to respect production quotas.
The secretary general did not give specific dates for the joint meeting except to say that it would probably be held in October.
Subroto said Iran and Iraq are to speak directly with each other at the long-term strategy committee meeting for the first time in years within OPEC. He downplayed the significance of such a meeting, however, saying it was normal that their respective oil ministers should speak since their foreign ministers began meeting last month in peace talks.