OPEC oil ministers said Thursday that members of the international cartel will keep production at current levels despite a dramatic drop in oil prices since the terrorists attacks on the U.S. Although oil prices have plunged since the attacks, OPEC said cutting output to boost prices could tip the world economy decisively into recession.
According to news agencies, OPEC has also decided to keep things as is to show support for the U.S., the top importer of OPEC crude, while it leads a military alliance against Osama bin Laden and those harboring him.
OPEC members reached the agreement on Wednesday but postponed confirming it until Thursday's formal meeting. The delay underscores the difficulty its 11 member nations face in trying to reach a consensus amid the intense economic and political unease prevailing since the attacks.
OPEC president Chakib Khelil extended the cartel’s condolences to the families of the victims of the attacks, before describing the negative effects the attacks have had on global demand for oil.
"The impact of the disaster upon the international oil industry will be profound, particularly in the context of the global economic slowdown and its implications for energy demand,'' he said.
OPEC has cut back its official production three times this year already, most recently by one-million barrels a day on Sept. 1.