The Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries says it will slash its official oil output quota by 2.2 million barrels a day starting on January 1st. OPEC hopes the cut will finally put an end to falling oil prices.
Wednesday's announcement followed a one-day OPEC ministers' meeting in the Algerian port city of Oran. The 2.2 million barrels per day cut comes on the heels of a previous cut of 2 million barrels per day in September and October.
This is the third time during the past four months that the cartel decided to slash output. Crude oil prices have plummeted over 70 percent from summer highs of nearly 150 US dollars.
OPEC's president explained the decision at a news conference following the meeting.
Chakib Khelil, OPEC President, said, "I can tell you it's going to be implemented and implemented very well because we don't have any other choice right now. If not, the situation will get worse and will get even worse for all of us, including non-OPEC countries."
On Wednesday, OPEC members also reached consensus on the distribution of the overall output cut among them.
But the cartel also wants non-OPEC oil producers to reduce their output. Russia has promised to slash oil production by 320,000 barrels per day starting next year.
Four non-OPEC countries - Russia, Azerbaijan, Oman, and Syria - attended Wednesday's meeting as observers.
(CCTV December 19, 2008)