Eight of OPEC's 13 member nations agreed Friday to a production cut of 300,000 barrels a day in May and June, but the cartel's powerful gulf Arabs balked at the concession to non-OPEC producers.
Algeria, an OPEC price hawk, submitted the proposal to the full cartel after six outside producers offered to lower their exports by 5 percent if OPEC adopted a similar curb to shrink the world oil glut and bolster oil prices.Saudi Arabia, OPEC's largest and most influential producer, led the opposition in what appeared to be a bargaining ploy to head off such a steep production cut.
Aligned with Saudi Arabia at the surprisingly brief two-hour Friday night session were Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar along with renegade Iraq.
The five Arab gulf producers are pumping about 9 million barrels a day, better than half of OPEC's current output of 17 million barrels a day.
The feuding oil ministers agreed on at least one point to meet yet again Saturday at 10 p.m. local time (2 p.m. MDT) as a courtesy to the cartel's Moslem members observing the sunrise-to-sunset fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
"These proposals have the support of eight countries," said Venezuelan Oil Minister Arturo Hernandez Grisanti. "Five others have requested time to consult with their governments."