October 16, 2008 / 4:02 PM / 11 years ago

OPEC should cut oil output: Ecuador

QUITO (Reuters) - OPEC should cut oil production at its next meeting as crude prices fall sharply over fears of a global economic downturn, Ecuador’s Oil and Mines Minister Derlis Palacios told Reuters on Thursday.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Thursday bought forward to October 24 an emergency meeting to discuss the impact of economic weakness on oil markets. It had originally planned to meet in November.

When asked whether OPEC should cut output at its next meeting, Palacios said: “Yes, I think that would be a measure of pressure so that prices can recover.”

OPEC is under pressure to reduce supplies after oil prices dropped sharply from July’s high of more than $147 over worries that a worldwide recession will cut fuel demand. Crude futures fell on Thursday to $69.15 per barrel, its lowest since August, 2007.

Palacios said Ecuador expects world oil prices to climb above $80 per barrel in late 2008 due to winter demand and measures taken by OPEC to shore up the price.

He said if oil prices keep falling, Ecuador would be forced to adjust its national budget for 2009.

OPEC President Chakib Khelil has said the next meeting should study measures to balance the world oil market over the next six months in the context of weakening global economy.

Norway, the world’s fourth largest oil producer, said on Thursday it had no plans to cut its output while Nigeria said it saw the October meeting as a chance to review options.

Analysts have already trimmed their global oil demand growth estimates after recent figures suggested the credit crisis had undermined economic growth of the United States, the world’s top consumer.

Reporting by Alonso Soto in Quito, writing by Patrick Markey in Bogota; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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