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OPEC Meeting Ends With No Deal

November 26, 1998

VIENNA, Austria (AP) _ OPEC ended a rancorous year-end meeting Thursday without even a minimum agreement to extend oil production cuts, saying it would review the situation again in March.

OPEC secretary-general Rilwanu Lukman said the organization will take whatever measures are necessary at that time to try to boost oil prices, but there will be no policy changes in the meantime.

The reason for the failure to take action wasn’t immediately announced, but the official meeting already had been pushed back from Wednesday because of the internal split.

Analysts had said that extending production cuts to the end of 1999 was the bare minimum action needed to prop up rock-bottom oil prices, flirting with 12-year lows.

Some delegates had voiced hope a 2.6 million barrel-a-day cut that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries set in June to run for six months could be extended to the end of 1999.

OPEC did decide to realign its annual meeting schedule, and will meet from now on in March and September rather than June and November, its secretary-general said afterward.

Cartel president Obaid bin Saif Al-Nasseri, who also is the United Arab Emirates’ oil minister, acknowledged in an opening speech to delegates that a ``strong bearish sentiment has set in″ on the world market.

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