OPEC extended oil production cuts for nine more months afterlast year's landmark agreement failed to eliminate the globaloversupply or achieve a sustained price recovery.

Members of the organization agreed to prolong their accordthrough March, said two delegates familiar with the decision,asking not to be identified before an official announcement ismade. Ministers are scheduled to discuss the extension withnon-member producers later on Thursday.

Six months after forming an unprecedented coalition of 24nations and delivering output reductions that exceededexpectations, resurgent production from U.S. shale fields hasmeant oil inventories remain well above targeted levels. Whilesupplies are shrinking, ministers acknowledged that the surplusbuilt up during three years of overproduction won't clear until atleast the end of 2017.

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