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OPEC Ministers Could Be Nearing Decision on Oil Production

Aired March 28, 2000 - 1:05 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Now to Vienna, where OPEC is believed to be nearing a formal decision that may -- just may -- put the brakes on gasoline prices in the U.S. and Europe.

CNN's Brent Sadler has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRENT SADLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A media scramble for the inside track on OPEC's oil projection discussion: OPEC officials and oil ministers bombarded with questions every time they appear in public.

Their debate has been split along two lines: the Saudis along with other Gulf states as well as Algeria and others have been pushing for an increase of an extra 1.7 million barrels of oil a day. But it's understood the Iranians along with the Iraqis, the Indonesians and the Libyans tried to reign in such an increase in output.

But OPEC states now seem on the verge of accepting a 1.7 million barrel boost to daily supplies.

CHAKIB KHELIL, ALGERIAN OIL MINISTER: Well, I would like to see 1.7 in the sense that it's a situation that is not going to have a large impact, you know, on oil prices.

SADLER: Ministers reassembled for a second formal session of talks at OPEC headquarters. There was lingering resentment by some countries toward strong United States political pressure on its Gulf allies to push for a greater flow of oil.

AMER RASHEED, IRAQI OIL MINISTER: Some members are under such great pressure from the American administration that they have to concede to that certainty. The dilemma for them is if they concede toward the Americans want, that means a total collapse of the prices, there will be a slump in the oil market, and it is damaging their economies.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SADLER: So it seems from what I can see behind me that the meeting, the second round of formal discussions has just come to a close. In fact, we are just getting some delegates leaving here, some officials. We should be able to give you the results of this latest meeting within the next few minutes. OPEC ministers obviously facing a tough dilemma here.

Back to you, Natalie.

ALLEN: All right, Brent, we'll let you go find out what happened, and we'll be in close contact with you.

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