The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met in Vienna today (Saturday, March 16) to fix prices for the next three months.
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met in Vienna today (Saturday, March 16) to fix prices for the next three months. Hopes of a cut in current record oil prices were quickly dashed.
At the beginning of the session, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani had said he would ask for a cut in prices to be considered. But emerging from the first session at OPEC headquarters, Sheikh Yamani declared jovially: "We are all in favour of higher prices."
This turnabout followed a report from OPEC's economic experts proposing that prices should be further raised from their current record levels.
But the final decision was held in abeyance. This was how conference chairman Dr. Jamshid Amouzegar, Iran's Finance Minister, responded to newsmen questions at the end of the first morning session:
Finally, however, the whole issue was held in suspense. After seven hours of discussions, the OPEC ministers put off a final decision on cost levels until the following day.
Nor was there any immediate news of a decision to lift the five-month oil embargo against the United States.
SYNOPSIS: Oil consumers have ben anxiously watching the progress of talks in Vienna this weekend. On Saturday, ministers from nations belonging to OPEC -- the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries -- met at their Vienna headquarters to fix oil prices for three months starting on April the first. There were even fears that the present record prices might be raised even higher.
But there'd also been an optimistic forecast before the meeting started. The influential Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Sheikh Yamani had said he would ask for a cut in oil prices to be considered. But when this morning session ended -- it was closed to the press -- Sheikh Yamani puzzled newsmen by remarking jovially that all the ministers had been in favour of higher prices. Had he been joking? In the absence of an official statements, the only clue lay in a report from OPEC's economic experts suggesting that prices should be further raised from the current record levels.
Instead of coming to a decision during Saturday, the ministers decided to defer consideration of oil prices until the following day. And there was on immediate news of a decision to lift the five-month oil embargo against the United States.
As he left Saturday's session, the conference chairman Dr. Amouzegar of Iran was asked if there could be a further freeze of oil prices: