The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has decided not to reduce oil production, despite a huge oversupply in world markets. The move caused global oil prices to drop further.
Following a meeting in Vienna on Thursday, OPEC announced it would leave its combined oil production unchanged at 30 million barrels per day.
The 12-nation oil cartel, comprising some of the world's biggest oil producers, overrode calls from weaker members to cut output in the face of global oversupply and falling prices.
After five hours of talks, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi described the outcome of the meeting as a "great decision."
Gulf oil producers led by Saudi Arabia apparently won their case for keeping output stable in hopes of rendering production from non-OPEC members unprofitable, thus driving up prices in the long-run.
Oil prices fall further
Although an OPEC member, Venezuela is one of the countries suffering severely from the current low crude prices. It needs an oil price well above $100 (80 euros) per barrel to finance its national budget.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez left the meeting visibly angry and declined to comment on the outcome.
However, oil prices have fallen by more than a third since June, as increasing production from North America in shale oil has overwhelmed demand at a time of sluggish global economic growth.
After the OPEC meeting ended, the price for Brent crude oil hit a four-year low of $71.25 a barrel, recovering to $72.58 later in the session. US crude was down $4.64 at $69.05. OPEC delegates agreed to meet again in June next year.
uhe/el (Reuters, dpa)