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Quick Hits: OPEC to Roll Out Fewer Barrels of Fun


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to limit production to 28.8 million barrels a day, about 500,000 barrels below the group's output in July.

OPEC's 11 members produce about 40% of the world's oil supply.

In response to the news, the price of oil rose $1.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange to $104.41. But that's 29.1% below the record $147.27 reached on July 11.

Iran and Venezuela urged OPEC to support prices as a worldwide economic slowdown cuts demand for oil. In London, the price of Brent crude, a benchmark for about two-thirds of the world's supply, fell below $100 for the first time in five months.

The price of oil fell Tuesday as Hurricane Ike weakened as it passed over Cuba. The National Hurricane Center reported that sustained winds dropped to 80 mph, making it a Category 1 storm on the 5-point scale of intensity.

However, the storm started to gain strength as it moved over open water in the Gulf of Mexico and headed for Texas. It now appears the storm will miss New Orleans and the offshore Louisiana oil and natural gas fields.

The Gulf of Mexico accounts for about 26% of U.S. oil production and 14% of natural gas production. The region produces about 1.3 million barrels of oil and about 7.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day, the US Interior Department reports.

A stronger dollar and slowing worldwide growth continue to drive oil prices down.

Oil stocks remain strong. Exxon-Mobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX), BP (BP) and Valero (VLO) were up in Wednesday's mid-morning trading.
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