Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Nations should wait until February before deciding on further cuts in their crude oil output, Nigerian Oil Minister Edmund Daukoru said Tuesday.
OPEC members have already reduce their output by 1.2 million barrels a day and plan to enforce another cut of 500,000 barrels a day from February.
The cuts are aimed at keeping oil prices falling too much in the face of weak demand and increased production by non-OPEC countries.
Asked whether there is a need for additional cuts in OPEC supplies, Daukoru said: "We cannot judge the market right now. We'll have to wait till Feb. 1," he said.
Daukoru is New Delhi to attend an international conference on energy.
Pressed on whether OPEC's output cut totaling 1.7 million barrels a day would be sufficient to buoy prices, he told Dow Jones Newswires: "I don't know. February is not yet here. When we implement (the February cuts) ... we will see how the market is going to react."
His comments, which echo similar views expressed by Kuwait's oil minister on Monday, highlight divisions within the cartel on whether it needs to act now to try to put a floor under oil prices.
On Monday, Venezuela's oil minister, Rafael Ramirez, said his country is pushing for an emergency OPEC meeting, and that some members backed this idea.
Saudi Arabia, which has so far kept a public silence on the issue, holds the key in tilting any decision within the OPEC. The kingdom's oil minister, Ali Naimi, was also attending the conference in New Delhi, reports AP.
Daukoru said oil prices had been softening because of milder-than-usual winter weather and because "there is a substantial oversupply in the market and new non-OPEC production is expected to come on-stream very soon."
Crude oil futures fell in Asian trading. Light, sweet crude for February delivery dropped 38 cents to US$52.42 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange midmorning in Singapore.
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