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Brent oil in London has dropped more than 60 percent since November 2014, when OPEC decided to refrain from cutting output in the face of a global oversupply in an effort to defend market share.
As it became clear last week in Vienna that a push for oil production cuts was failing, ministers from Venezuela, Algeria, Iran and Ecuador huddled around OPEC’s conference table and tried a different tack in their quest to boost crude prices.
With consumption set to grow by 1.4 million barrels a day, OPEC and its de facto leader Saudi Arabia could seize the chance to broaden their market as competitors damaged by the price slump fall off.
President Rafael Correa said on Tuesday that the South American nation is receiving as little as $30 a barrel for its crude, while production costs average about $39.
Algeria’s initiative to coordinate an OPEC response to tumbling crude prices had the backing of cash-strapped fellow members Libya and Venezuela.
An al-Qaida splinter attacked the nearby Ain Amenas gas plant in January 2013, resulting in the death of 40 plant workers, mostly foreigners.
In a packed courthouse that included the ambassadors of Italy, the U.S. and Germany, prosecutors read out the charges against former head of Sonatrach, Mohammed Meziane, his two sons, and 16 other company officials.
Youcef Yousfi told the parliament Thursday that Algeria was working on dozens of deposits and studying the possibility of boosting production to increase revenues.
Futures plunged 46 percent this year, set for the biggest annual drop since 2008, as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries resisted supply cuts to defend market share in response to the highest U.S. output in three decades.
Terrorist groups have increasingly been targeting oil and gas workers for their lucrative kidnapping ransoms.