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Oil price rise to average 10%

The world's major oil exporters raised minimum and maximum price levels in a formula likely to lead to an average 10 percent increase. The new levels were announced by Ecuador's Rene Ortiz at the end of an often stormy two-day meeting here of oil ministers of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which he is secretary-general.

Indonesia's oil minister and conference president, Mr. Subroto, said OPEC members would decide individually when to apply the new tariffs, which end a price freeze adopted in September.

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Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, has already announced a $2 -a-barrel increase to $32 -- to become the benchmark price under the new formula. A second tier sets a ceiling of $36 a barrel for crudes of similar quality to Saudi light, mainly from the Gulf region, while producers of premium-quality oil can set their prices at up to $41 a barrel.

Oil analysts said that, if all members raised prices to their ceilings, this would mean an increase of around 10 percent in the present average OPEC price of gasoline and heating oil in the United States.

No time limit was set on the new pricing agreement, and Mr. Subroto said the new formula fell short of the unified price structure which OPEC abandoned because of high demand in 1979. He said the next oil ministers' meeting will be in May in Geneva.

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