Oil cartel OPEC should reduce production by between 1.5 million and 2 million barrels per day (bpd) when it meets next week
and shun U.S. calls for a smaller cut, Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Muhammed Rasheed told Reuters. "What we are trying in the meeting of 17th of January in Vienna is to reduce production so that we get back to the balance between supply and demand. And we think something like 1.5 to 2 million barrels a day would be a good figure," Rasheed said. "We are not in any way affecting the world economy or trying to create a recession; rather, we want to defend normal, fair prices," Rasheed said from Baghdad.
The minister criticized U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson's upcoming tour of six OPEC nations which aims to persuade the group to make a smaller output cut, as worries grow over U.S. economic damage from high energy costs. "I think these moves by Bill Richardson will be counterproductive because the more the political manipulation of the oil market, the more we have crisis and we have fluctuation in the prices," Rasheed said.
"We will not agree to the pressures which are exercised by the American administration and OPEC. It is high time they give up such measures."