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OPEC may seek price talk with big oil companies

OPEC President Mana Said al-Oteiba is floating the idea of a meeting with the major oil companies to discuss the crisis caused by falling prices in the oil market, industry sources said.

They said the OPEC official made soundings about it last week but they understood nothing further had yet come of it, although at least some of the oil multinationals would be receptive to the idea.

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OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) and the oil companies have not met formally since 1973, when they failed to agree on a price for crude oil and OPEC decided to set the price unilaterally.

Small independent operators are picking up cut-price oil and refined products on the spot market and fighting price wars with the major oil companies in sagging oil markets - one reason the companies would like the chance to sit down and talk with OPEC and try to work out a joint approach to the glut.

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