OPEC in a bind over falling oil prices

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, right, talks with Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah during the closing ceremony of the OPEC summit in Riyadh on Nov. 18.


Renita Jablonski: Oil prices have been falling sharply in the last week. This morning, crude is below $108 a barrel. OPEC members meet next Tuesday in Vienna. Iran and Venezuela want to cut back production to boost prices. But will they get their way? Brett Neely has more.

Brett Neely: The steep fall in oil prices has OPEC members spooked. But OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia probably won't sign on to production cuts, says Leo Drollas at the Center for Global Energy Studies. Unless prices drop below $100, the Saudis will keep pumping flat out.

Leo Drollas: Well, they're worried, on the one hand, that prices might collapse. And on the other, they're worried that if prices stay where they are, if they push back up again, then the world slowdown will be deeper and longer lasting.

Even if OPEC can't keep oil prices from falling further, Europeans don't have much to celebrate, says German energy economist Claudia Comfort.

Claudia Comfort: From a European perspective, the oil price is still high, because the oil price is falling, but the dollar is strengthening, at the end it's the same price.

In dollar terms, oil has lost more than 7 percent this week.

In Berlin, I'm Brett Neely for Marketplace.

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Concerning speakers remarks about producer reserves and possible motivation in reporting declines...

Please help me understand the notion that any single oil company would deliberately understate reserves--thereby pumping up futures markets to the benefit of all oil companies--and having adverse implications for it's own stock? Investment in oil stocks is all about reserves (proved or otherwise), not cash flow, not margin.

That said, the only way for such a concept to make sense is for all the majors to be in collusion.


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