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INCREASE PRODUCTION?

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OPEC ministers gathered Friday to discuss whether they should increase oil production in the face of surging prices that have pushed the cost of a barrel of oil 40 percent higher since November.

"They're keen to keep revenues up," said Fergus MacLeod, an analyst at Barclays de Zoete Wedd in London. "The underlying mood is don't rock the boat."The ministers of the 13-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries were kicking off their talks at an afternoon meeting of an eight-member committee.

Their formal strategy sessions will begin Monday when they open their mid-year ministerial meeting at OPEC headquarters in Vienna.

The ministers' task is to set pricing and production levels for the final half of the year.