Official: OPEC to Cut Production

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will approve an agreement to cut production by 1.5 million barrels a day in response to plans by independent producers to curtail their daily output, a Gulf oil official said Monday.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the final decision will be taken during a meeting of OPEC ministers in the Egyptian capital on Friday. The six-month agreement should take effect on Jan. 1, he said.

The official said that the meeting in Cairo would approve the decision after non-OPEC oil producing countries expressed readiness to cut production.

Russia and Norway have each pledged cuts of 150,000 barrels a day. Mexico has said that it will cut 100,000 barrels, Oman 40,000 barrels and Angola 22,500 barrels, bringing the total non-OPEC cut in oil production to 462,500 barrels a day.

The agreement will remain in effect for six months, but it could be extended if prices are still low, the official said.

Meanwhile, Gulf oil officials said that a senior Norwegian oil delegation has visited a number of Gulf states and reaffirmed Norway's commitment to cut production by 150,000 barrels a day.

OPEC's official daily output target is 23.2 million barrels, and it pumps about a third of the world's oil.