OPEC ministers hope production cuts will save devastated market

VIENNA, Austria (AP) — OPEC sought to boost the weakened oil market Monday with promises that it really means to cut crude production this time, but skeptical traders pushed prices lower.
Ministers met in an emergency session late into the night to consider their pledges last week to trim output, and some even urged deeper cuts to lift prices that have tumbled to nine-year lows.
But their words had little impact, at least initially, on prices.
Earlier Monday, OPEC’s efforts got a boost when non-member Norway, the world’s second-largest crude exporter after Saudi Arabia, said it would cut roughly 100,000 barrels a day from its production, or 3 percent of the total.
Norwegian Oil Minister Marit Arnstad said she reserves the right to give up on the planned cuts if OPEC fails to deliver on its own promises.
Oil prices have plunged to a nine-year low, forcing OPEC ministers to address the issue at the special meeting in Vienna, Austria, where the group has its headquarters.
Some ministers said the 11-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries needs to slash output even more severely if it wants to push prices higher — and analysts agree.
On Monday, light sweet crude oil to be delivered in May plunged 56 cents to $16.22 per barrel in late afternoon trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, giving back much of the roughly $2 per barrel oil had gained last week on news of the production cuts.
The price of Brent crude to be delivered in May fell 63 cents, to finish at $14.77 per barrel, on London’s International Petroleum Exchange.
The recent low prices have been a bonanza for oil consumers, but devastating for producers who rely heavily on oil sales to fuel their economies.