OPEC Considers Production Cuts

The price of oil has risen on speculation that OPEC might slow production to avoid a potential price collapse during the second quarter after winter demand tapers off. Comments by a United Nations official that Iraqi oil was unlikely to flow to the world market in the near future also underpinned prices. Brokers said general expectations pointed to reduced supplies from OPEC, which has lifted output this year due to supply disruptions from Venezuela, Nigeria and war-torn Iraq.

The cartel, which has been pumping almost two million barrels per day (bpd) over official production limits to make up for a series of supply interruptions, may call an emergency ministerial meeting on April 24 to discuss possible output curbs after oil dropped about 30 percent in the past month. OPEC would like to maintain world oil prices near the $25 per barrel mark.