The international oil cartel OPEC is meeting to discuss cutting output by one million barrels a day in an effort to stop oil prices from falling further.
Prior to the special meeting in Qatar Thursday, several oil producing countries said the main issue to be resolved is whether the reduction will come from actual production output or official quotas for individual countries. Some producers exceed their official quotas.
An OPEC official says there is general agreement among the 11-member organization that it must reduce output to counter an expected slowdown in demand for oil next year and higher oil stocks, especially in the United States.
The price of oil in New York trading dipped below $58 a barrel this week, falling from a high of more than $78 in July.
In a report released Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Department reported that American inventories of crude oil rose by 5.2 million barrels last week. The inventory of 335.6 million barrels is about seven percent larger than one year ago.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.