VIENNA – OPEC oil ministers meeting in Vienna are pondering ways to signal that their organization is still a major player in determining crude supplies and prices.
For decades, the 13-nation cartel was able to regulate prices by throttling or increasing production. But with member discipline frayed and outside players increasing their market share, more recent meetings have failed to re-impose unity.
One way out would be abandoning attempts to set a firm production target. Ministers at Thursday's meeting could instead agree on a sliding ceiling that could shift between two benchmarks, both above 30 million barrels a day. That would be a first.
The final statement at the last meeting, in December, didn't even mention an output target, signaling the cartel's eroding ability to influence supply, demand — and prices.