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OPEC agrees to deal to cut oil output, despite Trump pressure
07 December 2018, 12:29 | Vera Richards
Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh talks to journalists at the beginning of an OPEC meeting in Vienna Austria
At a December 2016 meeting, OPEC members had agreed to a production cut to battle a supply glut that saw oil prices drop to $25 per barrel.
The long rally in oil prices lasted until October.
The price of oil has fallen about 25 percent because major producers - including the US - are pumping oil at high rates.
"We hope to conclude something by the end of the day tomorrow", the Saudi minister, Khalid al-Falih, told reporters, according to Reuters. He said the OPEC countries were still discussing the distribution of the cuts between them.
Riyadh wants Moscow to contribute at least 250,000-300,000 bpd to the cut but Russian Federation insists the quantity should be only half of that, OPEC and non-OPEC sources said. It has wanted an exemption.
"The US is now a major player in the export market", said Brian Kessens, who helps manage $US16 billion at Tortoise in Leawood, Kansas.
"Yes, we will have a cut", Oman's oil minister Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi said on Wednesday evening. "But, because the change is gradual over time, I don't think it's going to cause a huge revolution, but you do have to think that OPEC is going to have to take that into account when they think about cutting". The worldwide benchmark, Brent, was down $2.20 at $59.36 a barrel on a day when stock markets also fell sharply around the world.
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Riyadh under pressure from Trump not to reduce output, Moscow resists deep cuts.
He tweeted Wednesday that "Hopefully OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted".
"We are hopeful that they will come around this time and understand that everyone has to cut together", an OPEC delegate said, asking not to be named.
Five OPEC delegates told Reuters news agency the group was waiting for news from Russian Federation, as Energy Minister Alexander Novak had flown back from Vienna on Wednesday for a possible meeting with President Vladimir Putin. Some experts say that gives the USA some leverage over the Saudis, though Al-Falih denied that on Thursday.
"The big unknown is how President Trump will react to any production cuts", said analysts at ING.
Experts say this week's meetings of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will influence the price of oil over the coming months. How strongly it does so could depend on Russia's contribution, which will be determined in a meeting on Friday.
In one proposal being considered at talks on Thursday, OPEC could cut its own output by 900,000 to 1 million barrels a day and then seek further curbs from non-OPEC partners, one delegate said, asking not to be named as an agreement hasn't yet been reached.
"Markets.believe the production cut deal will be in range of 1-1.3 million bpd", ANZ bank said on Thursday.
"The stakes are high now for OPEC".
Iran has said it is carefully monitoring the next steps by some OPEC members and their allies which have "arbitrarily" ramped up oil production, leading to a crash in prices.
On paper, the shift to net oil imports means that the United States is today energy independent, achieving a rhetorical aspiration for generations of American politicians, from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush.
Top OPEC producer Saudi Arabia has been leading calls for the group to trim output, amid surging supply and fears that an economic slowdown will erode fuel demand.
OPEC is also riven by internal conflict, especially between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Qatar, which will leave on January 1, played only a small role in the organisation, providing just under two percent of OPEC's total output.
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