OPEC, the cartel pumping 40 percent of world oil, is this week set to announce plans to slash output in the hope of lifting crude prices weighed down by a recession-fuelled slide in energy demand. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Wednesday convenes in the Mediterranean port city of Oran, Algeria, where it is widely expected to announce plans to cut its oil output quota for a third time since September. "The cartel is likely to announce further cuts of at least two million barrels," predicted the chief analyst at consultancy Capital Economics, Julian Jessop. Analysts are forecasting a cut of between one and two million barrels from OPEC's official daily output quota of 27.3 million barrels, excluding Iraq. "OPEC's actions are not in themselves going to drive prices higher again. OPEC cut production just as aggressively during the last global downturn in 2001 and 2002, but oil prices did not take off until 2004 when the world economy grew by nearly five percent," said Jessop. He added: "The fact that oil prices have continued to fall despite OPEC's announcement of cuts in production totaling two million barrels per day over the last two months underlines the impotence of the cartel in the face of rapidly deteriorating demand." Crude futures have dived by as much as 70 percent since reaching all-time highs of above 147 dollars a barrel only five months ago, when fears of supply disruptions had sent them rocketing. The ability of OPEC to influence the market will also depend on whether it succeeds with a campaign to convince major non-member producers such as Russia, Mexico and Norway to reduce their output too.