VIENNA (AFP) -OPEC’s decision against cutting oil production, despite a global glut in supplies, triggered a five-dollar collapse in crude prices and prompted a fall in early trading on Asian markets.
The cartel opted to stick by its output target, even after prices have plunged by 35 per cent in value since June.
The 12-nation cartel “decided to maintain the production level of 30 million barrels per day” where it has stood for three years, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in a communique.
OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah El-Badri said the cartel would sit tight before the next output meeting scheduled for June in Vienna, where it is headquartered.
“We have to wait and see how the market will settle,” he told the meeting’s closing press conference. As I said many times… we don’t want to panic.”
Going into the latest meeting, OPEC faced pressure from its poorer members, notably Venezuela, to cut output as collapsing prices slashed their precious revenues.
However, its powerful Gulf members rejected calls to turn down the taps unless they are guaranteed market share in the highly competitive arena, particularly in the United States, where a flood of cheaper oil from shale rock has contributed to the global oversupply.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Thursday he would keep pushing OPEC to cut oil output to boost sliding crude prices
“We have not succeeded yet, but… we will continue to try until prices return to where they should be, at around $100 per barrel,” Maduro said in a televised address. OPEC’s decision sent world oil prices tumbling to fresh four-year lows.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for January delivery was at $68.76 a barrel in mid-morning trade on Friday, down 29 cents from its settle price in electronic trading in New York.
Brent crude for January dropped 27 cents to $72.31.