OPEC faces new challenges as its members gather for a ministerial meeting this week on how much crude to pump.

The group's 12 oil ministers are expected to stick to the organization's present output target of 30 million barrels a day at their Friday meeting.

But other issues confronting the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are more complex.

Crude production is surging in the United States, its traditional main market. Already frayed OPEC unity stands to further suffer as a result of fears among some members of less dependency on its product.

A rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia is also denting OPEC's image as a unified controller of oil prices and supply.