OPEC oil ministers failed early Sunday to agree on a production cut that analysts said could boost prices, officials said.
The oil ministers said they would resume their debate Sunday night.Eight of OPEC's 13 member nations backed a proposed two-month cut of 300,000 barrels a day in the cartel's production that analysts said could raise gasoline prices by 2.5 cents a gallon.
But Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the Iranian oil minister, said Saudi Arabia and three other Persian Gulf Arab states rejected the plan. The Saudis proposed that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cut only about 200,000 barrels a day, he said.
The Saudi idea was rejected by the eight-country majority, and the talks adjourned in the early hours Sunday. The ministers have been meeting since Thursday.
"We're still studying the issue," said Hisham Nazer, the Saudi oil minister, as he left the 31/2-hour meeting. He declined to say more.
The other three holdouts are Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, whose oil ministers also have said they needed more time to consult with their governments. The 13th member not voting on the proposal is Iraq, which normally does not follow OPEC's production quotas.
The Venezuelan oil minister, Arturo Hernandez Grisanti, said the cartel leaders were still stuck "on the same questions."
"We are giving time to the four (gulf Arab) countries to think again about the proposal," Hernandez said.