Saudis Push to Make Oil Scarcer

With demand for oil—like many other recession-era demands—sagging, Saudi Arabia's oil minister is pressuring OPEC nations to cut oil production in a bid to drive crude prices back up. Saudi Arabia is OPEC's largest producer, pumping more than double the quantity of the organization's second-largest producer, Iran. On Friday oil futures rested at $46.52 per barrel in New York, down from a $100 peak in July. Consequently, oil producing nations are feeling a pinch. Commodity experts in the West say the world can't handle a spike in oil prices, but OPEC appears to be sticking to its guns on a goal to get prices back up to between $75 and $100 this year. Industry leaders remain divided, however, on whether Saudi Arabia's new plan is wise. Compliance with OPEC's current production ceiling lingers around 80 percent, with Nigeria, Angola, and Iran overproducing at the highest rates. Qatar's oil minister said OPEC should force overproducing nations to comply with current limits before creating even lower ones.