Energy Secretary Steven Chu says that if OPEC cuts production to increase oil prices, it could severely hamper global economic recovery.

Chu told reporters after a Senate hearing that he'll speak to OPEC oil ministers before the cartel's meeting Sunday to urge them to keep production at current levels. He said a production cut would "create a huge strain on the ability of the world economy to recover."

The OPEC producers already have cut production quotas by 4.2 million barrels a day, but have been unable to stem the downward spiral of global oil prices. They are believed to be considering slashing production by another 500,000 barrels a day, although some investors now say that's no longer certain.