Norway Announces Decision on Oil Cuts Next Week

Norwegian oil and energy minister Einar Steensnaes said that he would make a decision about whether to curb oil production next week amid rising pressure from Opec.

"We are going to make an evaluation and a possible decision next week," said Steensnaes. He said non-Opec Norway would depend on commitment from Opec and other independent producers for possible output cuts. "Our decision will be dependent on that we get positive signals from Opec and other nations outside of Opec that they will participate in such measures," he said. He said Oslo would also take into account that higher oil prices could deepen an international economic slowdown. "It is clear that an economic recession as we see now will be affected by the oil price ... an economic recovery will be stimulated by lower oil prices," he said.

He confirmed that he would speak to Saudi Arabia's Ali al-Naimi on the telephone later on Thursday and that Mexico's Ernesto Martens would come to Norway for meetings on November 20.

Opec wants non-Opec producers to cut production by 500,000 barrels per day as the price for going ahead with an Opec reduction of 1.5 million bpd. Steensnaes said earlier on Thursday that Norway will act to prevent a price crash but says that prices are almost double the $10 a barrel that triggered its last production cutbacks in 1998.