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					      Venezuela: Caracas Cuts Oil Output by 129,000 bpd



Thai News Service


Section: General News - The ongoing global financial crisis has made it
truly difficult for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
(OPEC) to sustain oil prices by cutting the output, observers say.


On Friday, OPEC announced the cut of daily oil output by 1.5 million
barrels. But instead of boosting the oil price in the international market,
the move prompted world oil prices to plunge to a 17-month low.


Brent North Sea crude for December delivery was slashed to 61.08 U. S.
dollars per barrel, which was last seen in March 2007.


Venezuelan government said that the country is going to cut its oil output
by 129,000 barrels a day from its current daily crude production.


Venezuelan Minister of Energy and Oil, Rafael Ramirez announced the new
reduction at an extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC) held Friday in Vienna.In an attempt to tackle
the plunge in oil demand prompted by the slowing of the world economy.


New York's main contract, light sweet crude for December delivery slumped
to 63.05 dollars a barrel, the lowest since May 2007.


On July 11, 2008, the oil price hit a record high of 147.27 dollars per
barrel, but it has plunged sharply thereafter.
Over the past three months, oil price has seen a steep slide in the
international market, partly triggered by the financial crisis across the
world.


Against this background, OPEC, which produces around 40 percent of the
world's oil, rescheduled its extraordinary meeting by putting ahead the
November meeting to Oct. 24, aiming to debate about the output cut.


In a resolution issued at Friday's meeting, OPEC vowed to monitor the
international market to decide whether to take further actions.


"There is oversupply in the international market," OPEC conference
president Chekib Khelil, who is also Algeria's energy minister, told a
press conference after the meeting.


Khelil said an OPEC meeting scheduled for December will review the oil
supply and decide whether to further cut output.


Observers believed that OPEC may launch another cycle of output cut to
salvage the oil price.


"We believe this week will mark the start of a new quota reduction cycle
by OPEC and it will continue through 2009," Deutsche Bank analyst Michael
Lewis said.


In retrospect, over the past 10 years, OPEC had made three major output
cuts, in 1998, 2001 and 2006 respectively, but each saw no immediate price
rebound.
Just as Khelil pointed out, apart from supply and demand, speculation in
energy market is an important factor affecting the oil price.


The International Energy Agency (IEA) was critical of OPEC's cut. "It is
not a helpful decision because markets are quite nervous," Eduardo Lopez,
a senior analyst at the IEA's oil market division, was quoted as saying
by local media.


On the issue of output cut, OPEC is facing a bewildering situation both
within and outside.


For one thing, the world is calling for a reasonable oil price to fight
a possible global economic recession stemming from the world financial
crisis.


As a matter of fact, investors across financial markets are increasingly
pessimistic about the world economy. European and Asian stocks fell
sharply on Friday, led by a 10 percent drop in Japan's Nikkei average and
5 percent in the German DAX index.


Germany, the biggest economy of Europe, has slashed its economic growth
from 1.4 percent to merely 0.2 percent for 2009.


Earlier this month, Germany's major economic research institutes warned
that Germany was "on the edge of a recession" due to the global financial
crisis.


Last month, oil demand in the United States, the world's biggest oil
consumer, fell to the lowest level in more than five years, at 18.6 million
barrels a day, according to the Department of Energy.


OPEC members were divided over the output cut as each member has its own
target price.


Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil exporter in the world, is the lowest-cost
producer within OPEC.


World media widely estimated that Saudi Arabia can afford to let oil prices
fall for a while without hurting its budget as it could sustain oil prices
between 55 and 65 dollars a barrel.


Other OPEC members are not so fortunate, as they need higher oil prices
to support their budget requirements.


Nigeria's Oil Minister Odein Ajumogobia said his country would be more
comfortable with 80 dollars a barrel. Qatar has set a range of 70 to 90
dollars a barrel as the target price, while Iran said any price below 90
dollars a barrel would hurt some oil producers.

				
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