OPEC, allies adjourn meeting over oil production levels

Members of the OPEC oil cartel and allied countries including Russia have adjourned a meeting weighing whether to restore more oil production next month

FRANKFURT, Germany -- Members of the OPEC oil cartel and allied countries including Russia on Monday adjourned a meeting weighing whether to increase production further next month as the pandemic continues to sap demand for energy and create uncertainty about when recovery might come.

The oil producing countries were to meet again Tuesday. In December, the group decided to add back a modest 500,000 barrels per day to the oil market, and to review production monthly with a goal of restoring 2 million barrels a day.

OPEC and non-member countries that have agreed to cooperate with it last year imposed a production cut of 7.7 million barrels a day to prevent prices from collapsing during the economic slump caused by the pandemic.

Vienna-based OPEC faces conflicting pressures. Raising production would increase revenues for producing countries that have seen their budgets hard hit by lower prices, but pumping too much too soon could undermine the modest price rebound. Oil prices fell by 52 cents Monday to $48.00 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.