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VIENNA, Austria — The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is leaning toward cutting crude oil production at a meeting today, a move that may push up the retail price of diesel fuel.

Several OPEC oil ministers have reported that they want to trim their production target by at least two per cent, or 500,000 barrels a day, to prevent an oversupply and a possible plunge in prices.

Chakib Khelil, president of OPEC, says the reduction could be as large as 1.5 million barrels.

One financial analyst says, alarmingly, that that could be enough to push the slipping global economy into full-blown recession.

“OPEC would be cutting its own throat,” said energy consultant Falah Aljibury of Alamo, Calif.

Nonetheless, OPEC members seemed bent on scaling back output ahead of a seasonal springtime slowdown in demand for heating oil and gasoline.

“There is a consensus about a cut, but the question is about how much,” United Arab Emirates’ oil minister Obaid bin Saif Al-Nasseri said Thursday upon his arrival in the Austrian capital.

“We believe it’s necessary to do something because there’s a huge amount of overproduction in the market,” Iran’s oil minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh told reporters.

OPEC members pump almost 40 per cent of the world’s oil. Their decisions have a direct impact on the prices at the pumps.

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