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OPEC may meet to discuss cutting oil output

ABUJA, Nigeria With oil prices flirting with seven-month lows, OPEC s president said today that the group is considering an emergency meeting to discuss the possibility of cutting output.

We are toying with the idea of an emergency meeting, said Edmund Daukoru, a Nigerian oil minister who is also serving as president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The comments came after oil prices rebounded Wednesday from a seven-month low and edged higher Thursday. But prices for crude-oil futures in New York are still roughly 24 percent below their July peak of $78.40.

A Financial Times report today said OPEC has informally agreed to cut output 4 percent in coming weeks to defend the $50 to $55 per barrel price range. It cited an unnamed OPEC official.

Dow Jones Newswires, citing an unidentified OPEC governor, said OPEC ministers agreed to cut 1 million barrels a day from its current oil production levels, with Saudi Arabia cutting 300,000 barrels per day, effective as soon as possible.

We each have an idea of what is an appropriate response ... we agree that something needs to be done, Daukoru said, referring to possible cuts in output. We will have to agree on how much, how soon and how we distribute it among the member countries.

Daukoru said OPEC members would only agree on a formal position on oil cuts after consultations. But he said Venezuela has already promised to announce a cut of 50,000 barrels per day.

Algeria also gave me some understanding, Daukoru said. The Saudis were already taking some measures on their own as part of leadership.

Saudi Arabia s ambassador to the U.S. had said on Wednesday that he did not expect OPEC to hold an emergency meeting to discuss prices ahead of its scheduled Dec. 14 meeting, despite the recent decline in prices.

By midday in Europe, light, sweet crude for November delivery rose 21 cents to $59.62 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Nymex crude had settled on Tuesday at $58.68 a barrel, the lowest close since Feb. 16.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and

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