VIENNA - OPEC announced Thursday that it had delayed the election of a new secretary general until its next regular production gathering in Vienna on December 12.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) also decided to keep its output ceiling at 30 million barrels per day (mbpd) and vowed to eliminate an estimated 1.6 mbpd of oversupply, after its latest meet in the Austrian capital.
The powerful 12-nation cartel had been expected to unveil the replacement of its current chief, Libyan Abdullah El-Badri, who retires at the end of the year.
"We have four candidates, very good ones, and we proposed to agree on a mechanism and we will decide in our next meeting," Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters after the meeting.
Those four candidates for the post are from Ecuador, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Any candidate for the job of OPEC secretary-general will need unanimous support from the cartel's members, making a decision considerably more difficult.
Saudi Arabia and Iran, the number one and number two oil producers in OPEC, traditionally hold opposing positions within the cartel and could cancel each other out, according to analysts.
The other two candidates are Ecuador's Natural Resources Minister Wilson Pastor and Iraq's Thamir Ghadhban.
The current incumbent El-Badri lamented that OPEC oil ministers ran out of time to decide the position.
"It's very difficult to choose one of them in a session this long," he told reporters after Thursday's output meeting, which began at 1400 GMT and lasted around five hours.