Price-cutting spread among major U.S. oil companies today, and OPEC summoned its ministers to a Jan. 28 meeting to review again its price and production strategy.
An oil industry analyst said official prices could fall further.
A price cut today by the Gulf subsidiary of Chevron Corp. matched Texaco Inc.'s decision Thursday to drop the price it will pay for the top grade of U.S. oil by $1 a barrel to $28.
That domestic benchmark, known as West Texas Intermediate crude, is an oil of higher quality and, until recently, cost more than OPEC's reference grade, Arabian Light oil.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has been trying to defend the $29-a-barrel price of Arabian Light against slumping prices in the open market. OPEC confirmed today that ministers of its 13 member nations will reconvene in Geneva just one month after ending their last conference.
As recently as October, the U.S. oil industry was quoting a price of $30 a barrel for West Texas Intermediate. Currently, prices range from $29 a barrel at several major oil-producing companies to a low of $25.90 by companies that predominantly refine oil produced by others.
Exxon Corp., the world's biggest oil company, is among those still holding at $29 a barrel, while No. 2 Mobil Corp. has a $28.75 price.