After a ministerial meeting, OPEC announced on Wednesday that it will slash its official oil output quota by 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1 next year.
In light of observing "crude volumes entering the market remain well in excess of actual demand," the cartel "agreed to cut 4.2 million bpd from the actual September 2008 OPEC-11 production of 29.045 million bpd, effective of Jan. 1, 2009," Chakib Khelil, current rotating president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), told a press conference.
In addition to the previous cut of 2 million bpd in September and October, the total output cut in 2008 would be 4.2 million bpd.
"I hope we surprised you. If not, we have to do something about it," said Khelil who hosted the conference. "The impact of the grave global economic downturn has led to a destruction of demand, resulting in unprecedented downward pressure being exerted on prices," he said.
"Prices could fall to levels which would place at jeopardy the investments required to guarantee adequate energy supplies in the medium to long term," he said.
The OPEC members strongly emphasize their firm commitment to ensuring that their production is reduced by the individually agreed amounts, he added.
Meanwhile, Khelil also called on non-OPEC countries to coordinate with OPEC output cut decision, as Russia, Azerbaijan, Oman and Syria, also attended Wednesday's meeting.
"We renew our call on the non-OPEC producers and exporters to cooperate with the Organization to support oil market stabilization," he said.
This is the third time during the past four months that the cartel decided to cut the oil output in a bid to curb the falling oil prices which stood at 44 U.S. dollars a barrel Wednesday.
During the 149th extraordinary ministerial conference in Vienna on Sept. 10, OPEC decided to cut oil production by 520,000 bpd to stem the falling oil prices.
A further output cut of 1.5 million bpd was made in the 150th extraordinary ministerial conference in Vienna on Oct. 24.
But the two moves both failed to stabilize the oil price. Over the past five months, oil prices have witnessed a steep slide in the international markets after a record high of some 147 U.S. dollars per barrel in July 11.
Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, has said the oil prices at 75 dollars are fair.
During the one-day meeting, OPEC members also reached consensus on the distribution of the overall output cut among them.
The meeting also decided that the next OPEC ordinary meeting will be held on March 15, 2009 in Vienna, the oil bloc's headquarter.