News In Brief

By , Judy Nichols, Noel Paul and Sara Steindorf

The special meeting of OPEC beginning tomorrow in Caracas, Venezuela, appears more likely to consider how to head off an oversupply of crude oil next year than to address calls by major consuming nations for still more production, analysts said. Despite a letter from the Group of Seven (G-7) leaders calling on the cartel to bring down crude prices, Venezuelan Oil Minister and current OPEC president Ali Rodriguez insisted, "There is no shortage of oil supply." Rodriguez pointed to statistics showing the supply at 1.5 million barrels per day above demand in the quarter just ending as proof that inventories are rising. But OPEC, he said, did not seek a confrontation with the large consuming nations, adding: "[That] would be grotesque; they are our customers." The cartel, he added, is simply "developing countries seeking to defend our rights over our natural resources." In arguing for even greater production by OPEC, the G-7 leaders, meeting in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, agreed not to cut taxes as a way to react to high fuel prices.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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