By Paul Wood
BBC News, Cairo
The oil producers' group Opec is meeting with some members pressing for a reduction in output following a recent sharp decline in prices.
Opec is said to be breaking its quota by 1.1 million barrels a day
The main New York contract is now at about $43 a barrel, compared with a record high in October of $55.
However, the world's biggest producer, Saudi Arabia, seems reluctant to agree to a drop in output, as it would have to make the deepest cuts.
Oil prices have been relatively high all year, driven by strong demand.
Opec's oil production is at a 30-year high and some members of the organisation are determined to rein it in.
With oil priced in dollars, they are concerned the weakness of the US currency has meant that they have not had the full benefit of price changes.
Countries such as the US have urged Opec to do the opposite.
Washington argues that demand is also at a record high and so any cuts in production will inevitably start to hike prices back up.
However, a key committee of Opec has already recommended a cut in output of as much as 1.7 million barrels a day.
Total Opec production is about 27 million barrels a day.
The Kuwaiti oil minister said the main meeting of Opec in Cairo would ratify that decision, however, the world's biggest producer, Saudi Arabia, has not revealed yet which way it will vote.