OPEC Cutting Output Not an Option Joe Raedle/Getty Images

OPEC Cutting Output Not an Option

The 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided in November to maintain production unchanged, sending oil prices crashing.

KUWAIT CITY - OPEC members have no choice but to maintain current production levels despite falling oil prices in order to preserve their market share, Kuwait's oil minister said on Thursday.

"Within OPEC, we don't have any other choice than keeping the ceiling of production as it is because we don't want to lose our share in the market," Ali al-Omair told reporters.

But the minister welcomed any arrangements with non-OPEC crude producers to stabilise the market after prices have plummeted almost 60% since June.

"If there is any type of arrangements with countries outside OPEC, we will be very happy," Omair said after signing a cooperation agreement on oil and investment with Russia. 

The 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided in November to maintain production unchanged, sending oil prices crashing.

Omair also said there is no plan to hold an emergency OPEC meeting to study prices.

"We have not received any serious call from any OPEC member," to hold an emergency meeting. "So our next meeting will be held in June."

Oil prices dropped in Asian trade on Thursday after a short-lived rebound the previous day on news that the U.S. Federal Reserve is not likely to cut interest rates in the summer.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for April delivery was down $1.11 to $43.55 while Brent crude for May tumbled 78 cents to $55.13 in afternoon trade.

The Kuwaiti minister said that weak global economic growth, geopolitical factors and a strong dollar were among the main factors making the price of oil highly volatile.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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