Europe

OPEC ponders ways to show its oil clout at Vienna meeting

  • Anas Khaled Al-Saleh, Kwait's Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Acting Minister of Oil arrives at a hotel in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, May 31, 2016. Al-Saleh is attending the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) meeting on June 2. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

    Anas Khaled Al-Saleh, Kwait's Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Acting Minister of Oil arrives at a hotel in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, May 31, 2016. Al-Saleh is attending the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) meeting on June 2. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)  (The Associated Press)

  • Khalid Al-Falih Minister of Energy. Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia speaks to journalists prior to the start of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, at their headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, June 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

    Khalid Al-Falih Minister of Energy. Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia speaks to journalists prior to the start of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, at their headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, June 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iran's Minister of Petroleum Bijan Namdar Zangeneh speaks to journalists prior to the start of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, at their headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, June 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

    Iran's Minister of Petroleum Bijan Namdar Zangeneh speaks to journalists prior to the start of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, at their headquarters in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, June 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)  (The Associated Press)

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.