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OPEC Ministers Confirm Cut

CAIRO, Egypt -- OPEC agreed to carry out a planned 6-percent cut in its official oil output after crude producers outside the cartel promised to make cuts.

OPEC ministers decided in an emergency meeting to slash the group's production target by 1.5 million barrels a day beginning Jan. 1 in a bid to bolster sagging world oil prices. The cuts are to last for at least six months, according to the Associated Press.

The decision appears unlikely to have a major impact on the prices consumers pay for gasoline or heating oil. OPEC approved the cut in principle back in November, and energy markets have already factored it into current prices for crude and refined oil products.

In Washington, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham noted OPEC's decision but would not comment on it in detail.

"We will continue to deliver our consistent message to oil producers: They should take care to ensure that their actions support the world economy and ensure adequate supplies for world markets," Abraham said in a statement.

OPEC, which pumps about a third of the world's oil, has a daily output target of 23.2 million barrels. It decided to proceed with its planned cut only after persuading independent producers such as Russia, Norway and Mexico to reduce their own supplies.

Having already trimmed OPEC's official production by 3.5 million barrels a day this year, the group's 11 member nations were determined to make rival, independent producers share the burden of the next decrease instead of boosting sales at OPEC's expense, the report said.
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