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Oil Prices Slide

NEW YORK --Oil prices slid yesterday after Russia said it would cut oil production by 50,000 barrels per day (bpd), failing to back oil cartel OPEC's request to help boost sagging crude prices.An OPEC official, speaking on condition of anonymity, called the planned cut too small and said OPEC had hoped Russia would reduce production by at least 150,000 bpd. Other analysts said Russia, which recently passed Norway to become the world's second-largest oil exporter, would need to cut up to 200,000 bpd to help non-OPEC countries reach OPEC's 500,000 bpd target, according to the Associated Press. Russia has a total production of 7 million barrels a day.Brent crude for January delivery was down 77 cents to $19.13 after gaining $1.17 as hopes grew that Russia might offer enough of a cut to meet OPEC demands and trigger a reduction by the cartel. OPEC agreed last week to slash 1.5 million bpd from its oil export quotas from Jan. 1 -- its fourth cut in a year -- only if rival exporters Russia, Mexico, Norway and Oman chipped in with a combined 500,000 bpd reduction.Last week, Norway's parliament agreed to a 100,000 to 200,000 bpd output cut, conditional on other producers also curbing output. Mexico has already offered to cut output by 100,000 bpd and Oman has offered a reduction of 25,000 bpd. Russia's government said it had agreed with oil companies to cut oil output by 50,000 bpd in the fourth quarter, but delayed a decision on the crucial first quarter of next year.
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