A weekly report showing that U.S. oil inventories rose has sent oil prices sliding to less than $70 a barrel.
Crude oil for future delivery fell more than six percent during trading Thursday in New York to drop as low $69.15 a barrel.
Oil prices have been sinking steadily as investors worry efforts by the U.S. and other countries to stabilize troubled financial institutions will not be enough to ward off a looming global recession that would likely lower demand.
The drop in oil prices came after the U.S. Energy Department said today that crude oil inventories rose almost two percent (5.6 million barrels) to more than 308 million barrels.
Also today, OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) said it will hold an emergency meeting on oil prices next week, October 24. The meeting had originally been scheduled to take place in November.
The cartel is expected to cut production in a bid to boost oil prices.
OPEC cut its estimate for crude oil demand next year in a report released Wednesday. OPEC President Chakib Khelil has told the Bloomberg news agency that the ideal price for crude oil would be between $70 and $90 a barrel.
Oil prices have dropped more than 50 percent since hitting a record high of $147 a barrel in July.
Some information for this report was provided by Bloomberg.