DETROIT – The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to cut its crude oil production by 1 million barrels a day in an effort to stop a three-month slide in crude prices.

OPEC long had been rumored to be considering slashing production to halt the precipitous fall of crude oil during the past three months.

Earlier this month, Nigeria and Venezuela each suggested the 11-member oil cartel cut its worldwide production by 5 percent. But it took two weeks before Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer and most influential member of OPEC, would agree to the cuts.

OPEC produces about 29 million barrels of oil daily.

November delivery of crude oil futures rose 85 cents to close at $58.50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude prices have fallen more than 25 percent since mid-July when petroleum – the feedstock for gasoline and diesel fuel – reached a record $78.50 a barrel.

It is unclear whether OPEC’s move will have an impact on retail gasoline prices.

“The question is what will OPEC actually do, because there is such a powerful economic incentive to pledge one thing and do another,” said John Felmy, chief economist with the American Petroleum Institute in Washington, D.C. “We’ve seen this before, but it’s too soon to tell what will happen.”



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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-10-19-06 1857EDT


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