OPEC exceeds output quotas, diesel stays at $1.14 per gallon

| 1/29/2002

Some OPEC members appear to be up to their old tricks again by pumping more oil in January than they previously agreed, according to industry consultants. The cartel originally agreed to cut oil production to help stabilize world oil prices that have weakened since September 11. Estimates indicate total output for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries dropped 1.4 million barrels per day to 22.25 million bpd this month, about 550,000 bpd above its production target of 21. 7 million bpd.

Many analysts had expected the cartel to implement only one million of the agreed 1.5 million bpd cut, effective Jan. 1, based on the cartel's faulty reputation for compliance.

The announcement forced oil prices higher in international trading, although the weekly retail on-highway diesel prices released by the Energy Department Monday show the national average cost of diesel remains relatively unchanged from last week at $1.144 per gallon. The highest prices nationally are in the New England region. Diesel there flows for $1.293. The lowest average prices are found in the Gulf Coast region. Fuel there is $1.11 per gallon. The remaining regions' price per gallon is as follows: East Coast, $1.176; Central Atlantic, $1.263; Lower Atlantic, $1.128; Midwest, $1.119; Rocky Mountain, $1.122; West Coast, $1.214; and California, $1.259, respectively.