OPEC Set to Cut Oil Production by Up to 1.5 Million Barrels a Day

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OPEC is set to cut oil output by up to 1.5 million barrels a day next week in an effort to lift sagging world oil prices, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Saturday.

Speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly's annual meeting, Chavez said the oil cartel's 11 member countries, including Venezuela, have reached a "definite" consensus to cut production because of falling oil demand and a global oil oversupply.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' official daily output is currently 23.2 million barrels a day.

The Vienna, Austria-based OPEC has asked several non-OPEC producers such as Mexico, Russia and Norway to support prices by curbing their production, Chavez said.

Several of these producers have agreed not to hike their production, he said, without naming any countries.

OPEC ministers meet Nov. 14 to set new production quotas. Several senior OPEC officials recently signaled a growing consensus within the oil cartel to cut production quotas by between 1 million and 1.5 million barrels a day starting Dec. 1.

Venezuela's president said the world market is currently oversupplied by 1.5 million barrels of crude a day. "Inventories are building," he said.

Chavez defended OPEC's pursuit of a "fair price" of between $22 and $28 a barrel, saying that price range has not been responsible for the current global economic slowdown.