After three days of long discussions, the ministers in Vienna came up with little more than a statement of good intentions about sticking to OPEC rules. Similar statements have been made at past OPEC meetings without ending the price discounting and overproducing that helps to make a mockery of the official OPEC oil price.
Yet Nigeria is regarded as one of the worst offenders within OPEC. A heavily populated, poor country that needs funds quickly for development, Nigeria has reportedly been producing more than the quota authorized by OPEC and, to meet competition from outside OPEC, selling the oil at a discount.
The meeting was called in Vienna, in fact, because Saudi Arabia had become irritated about the widespread cheating. Under OPEC agreements, Saudi Arabia, with more oil reserves than any other country in the world, acts as the swing producer. If world demand for OPEC oil falls below the organization's self-imposed quota of 16 million barrels a day, Saudi Arabia is supposed to cut back accordingly, allowing the others to produce their full quotas. Saudi Arabia, now producing less than it has in many years, has balked at this, especially when it feels that other producers are cheating.