Growing oil glut presses revival of pricing system

A growing glut of oil has brought a sharp slump in market prices, some of which have fallen below official levels charged by producers, traders reported Wednesday. Prices for African oils are as much as $1.35 below official levels, between $35 and $37 a barrel. Scores of tankers bearing millions of barrels of oil are lying idle off the ports of major consuming countries as their owners seek buyers for their cargoes.

The turnaround in prices, which have soared 150 percent since early 1979, is putting strong pressure for the first time on oil-producing countries to return to a unified, controlled pricing system, the traders believe.

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