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Nation/World

Opec Schedules Emergency Meeting

Thu., March 26, 1998

OPEC ministers plan to gather next week for emergency talks about pledges to restrain oil production in an effort to push crude prices higher.

Traders are skeptical that the oil-producing nations, including OPEC and non-OPEC countries, can live up to recent promises to slash output by up to 2 million barrels a day.

The pledges by individual oil exporters, including heavyweights Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Mexico, have come to just a little more than half that amount, and experts say it remains uncertain whether each country will actually cut as much as it says.

But news of the emergency meeting, announced Wednesday by Rilwanu Lukman, secretary-general of the 11-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, gave a lift to oil prices in the futures markets.

Brent crude oil to be delivered in May was up 61 cents, settling at $15.14 per barrel, while light sweet crude oil for May delivery was up 56 cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange, settling at $16.48 per barrel.



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