Emergency Meeting Not on OPEC Agenda

Emergency Meeting Not on OPEC AgendaEmergency Meeting Not on OPEC Agenda

OPEC oil exporters have no plans for an emergency meeting to discuss the drop in oil prices before the next scheduled gathering in December, two OPEC delegates said on Monday.

Algerian Energy Minister Salah Khebri said discussions about potentially holding such a meeting was ongoing, Algeria Press Service reported on Monday, as oil prices fell toward $48 a barrel, their lowest since January.

Algeria is one of the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which had misgivings about its 2014 shift in policy to defend market share rather than prop up prices, and has been seeking supply cuts.

Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf members, which drove the change of tack, have shown no sign of softening their stance. While OPEC countries are in touch with each other to discuss developments in the market, "there is no proposal for an emergency meeting," one of the OPEC delegates said. Another said there was no suggestion of a meeting before the Dec. 4 gathering.

OPEC kept output policy unchanged at its last meeting held in June, despite lobbying by Khebri for a production cut. Oil's collapse from over $100 in June 2014 is more painful for African OPEC countries like Algeria than for Persian Gulf members.

"Consultations are ongoing to take a decision," APS cited Khebri as saying, when asked about a possible OPEC extraordinary meeting. He did not give further details.

Despite the drop in prices since the last OPEC meeting, officials like Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri have downplayed the prospect of the group cutting output and said they expect rising demand to support prices.

Algeria, heavily dependent on oil income, has foreign exchange reserves as a cushion against any economic fallout, but the central bank director has warned those reserves may swiftly diminish if oil remains low for a long period.