Norway agrees to production cut, diesel continues drop

| Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Norway has pledged to cut oil production by 150,000 barrels a day to help boost prices, assuming OPEC and other countries follow through with their commitments to reduce production. The announcement comes as oil prices fell for the 13th straight week.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed last month to scale back production by 1.5 million bpd in January, if non-OPEC producers agreed to trim output by 500,000 bpd. Norway's pledge brings the non-OPEC totals to about 450,000 barrels a day, which includes 150,000 from Russia, 100,000 from Mexico, 25,000 from Oman and 22,500 from Angola.

OPEC members have scheduled a meeting Dec. 28 in Cairo to discuss their efforts to prop up oil prices. Norway said it will suspend its pledge if other countries fail to implement the cuts they have announced.

As oil producing nations continue to negotiate cuts in production to combat falling prices, the weekly retail on-highway diesel prices released by the Energy Department Monday show the national average cost of diesel continues to decrease. Diesel has plunged about 40 cents since the Sept. 11 attacks to $1.143 per gallon.

The biggest price drop from last week was in the Rocky Mountain region where fuel dropped 4.5 cents per gallon to $1.124. The cost for a gallon of diesel in the region has plummeted 46 cents since mid September. The lowest prices in the nation are found in the Gulf Coast region. Fuel there fell 3.3 cents to $1.096 per gallon. The highest prices are in the New England region. Diesel there dipped 1.3 cents per gallon to $1.301. The remaining regions' price per gallon is as follows: East Coast, $1.167; Central Atlantic, $1.253; Lower Atlantic, $1.118; Midwest, $1.138; West Coast, $1.19; and California, $1.225, respectively.

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