Oil prices rise ahead of OPEC's planned production cut .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} Crude oil rose, erasing earlier losses, after Venezuela’s oil minister said OPEC will reduce production by at least 1 million barrels a day in an effort to stem the 70 percent plunge in prices from July’s record high.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), supplier of more than 40 percent of the world’s oil, is ready to make a “big” cut in supplies when it meets tomorrow, Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said on Tuesday. Crude has tumbled 70 percent from a record $147.27 a barrel on July 11 as the deepening global recession cuts demand for fuel.

“We have to make a very strong decision,” Ramirez told reporters after arriving in Oran, Algeria for the meeting scheduled for Wednesday. “What’s important is that there’s consensus to cut and that we have to make a big cut.”

Crude oil for January delivery rose as much as 79 cents or 1.8 percent, to $45.30 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

However, OPEC President Chakib Khelil had suggested on Monday the group may slash as much as 2 million barrels a day, equaling a cut at the cartel's last Algeria meeting four years ago.

Khelil said that a fair price for oil would be around $70 to $80 per barrel — the benchmark for several OPEC members, below which they lose money on production.

OPEC had announced a 1.5 million-barrel-a-day reduction in output on Oct. 24.