Iran and Venezuela pushed for a cut of 2 million barrels a day, but there were concerns among other OPEC members that a more severe production cut would exacerbate a deteriorating economic crisis and further destroy demand.
OPEC officials, however, signaled they were prepared to slice deeper quickly if crude continues its freefall.
The world's biggest crude consumer immediately blasted OPEC.
"It has always been our view that the value of commodities, including oil, should be determined in open, competitive markets, and not by these kinds of anti-market production decisions," White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto said Friday. "The high oil prices from the past year contributed to the slowdown in demand and the subsequent downturn in the economy, and we would ask that everyone keep that in mind going forward."
OPEC is already producing 300,000 barrels a day above its own quota of about 29 million barrels.
If that overproduction is stopped, and all members comply with the 1.5-million cut, OPEC would produce about 1.8 million fewer barrels of oil a day.
OPEC officials, however, left no doubt that they were ready to slice production again quickly if Friday's decision does not end the price freefall.
The emergency meeting was initially scheduled for Nov. 18, but that was abruptly rescheduled for Friday in response to prices that have entered a tailspin since their historic high of nearly $150 in July.
Crude has tumbled 56 percent since then. A barrel of oil costs $41 less than it did just 30 days ago.
OPEC President Chakib Khelil said OPEC was ready to convene another emergency session before its next planned gathering in December in Algeria "if there are further decisions that have to be made.
Analyst John Hall of London-based John Hall Associates said the OPEC decision will not have a dramatic effect, adding he assumed any upward trend would stop at between $80 and $90.
But there was no such trend Friday as markets plunged global and fear of an extended recession spread.
Wall Street joined world stock markets in a sharp sell-off Friday, with the Dow Jones industrials dropping more than 200 points in early trading and all the major indexes falling more than 4 percent.
Oil futures slid $3.33 to $64.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices at one point tumbled to below $63, prices not seen since June 2007.
"It's clear that the ministers are attempting to underpin at $60 a barrel," said James R. Crawford an analyst with Inter Emirates. "But where the market will settle remains open."
OPEC statement Friday reflected alarm over the erosion of revenues for oil producing nations, as did the unusually short deliberations leading to its decision.
"Oil prices have witnessed a dramatic collapse - unprecedented in speed and magnitude," said the 13-nation organization. "This slowdown in demand is serving to exacerbate the situation in a market which has been oversupplied with crude for some time.