Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Monday, 20 October 2008 16:39 UK

Opec talks push oil prices higher

Gulf of Mexico oil rig
Opec is meeting in Vienna on Friday

Global oil prices have risen on growing expectations that producers' cartel Opec will vote to cut production.

US light crude was up $2.09 at $73.94 a barrel, with Brent up $2 at $71.62, ahead of Opec's meeting on Friday.

Fears of a global economic slowdown have pushed oil prices down by half since July's all-time highs.

A number of Opec members, including Algeria, Iran and Venezuela, have already said they would like to see output cut to help shore up prices.

Growth risks

Opec's meeting has been brought forward by three weeks in response to the recent fall in oil prices.

Algeria's energy minister and Opec president Chakib Khelil said he expected the organisation to announce "substantial" output cuts.

Most oil analysts are now in agreement, with Merrill Lynch estimating that production could be cut by one million barrels per day.

Energy consultancy CGES says Opec will argue that it has to cut production to prevent a further "price collapse".

However, the International Energy Agency, which represents the main oil-consuming nations, warned that any output cut by Opec - and the likely follow-on rise in oil prices - could intensify any global economic slowdown.

Opec comprises 12 of the world's largest oil producers.




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