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Crude oil production by OPEC’s 12 members fell in October to 30.58mn b/d, a 540,000 b/d decline from an upwardly revised 31.12mn b/d in September, according to a MEES survey. The group has maintained production above its collective target of 30mn b/d despite weaker oil prices and forecasts for sharply lower demand for OPEC crude heading into the first quarter of next year. Though much of the seeming show of discipline in October was involuntary – notably in the Saudi/Kuwait Neutral Zone and in Libya – this will help to soothe nerves ahead of the next OPEC meeting in Vienna on 27 November. Here ministers may have to grapple with the potentially divisive option of slashing supply further to lift oil prices from their current slump.
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