Saudi Arabia and Russia look to impose production cuts

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OPEC and its allies are poised to debate the terms of price-boosting supply cuts on Friday, after the influential oil cartel failed to reach a consensus over production policy for the first time in almost five years.

The 15-member organization will hold talks with allied oil-producing nations at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria on Friday. It comes after deep divisions in the energy alliance were laid bare at a closely-watched meeting on Thursday, with the group unable to agree on the terms of crude output cuts.

International benchmark Brent crude briefly climbed above $60 a barrel Friday morning, as OPEC delegates reportedly said the group would discuss a possible exemption from output cuts for Iran. U.S. sanctions against OPEC’s third-largest producer have already significantly reduced Tehran’s exports.

The cartel has agreed how many barrels it would aim to remove from the market in principle, two unnamed sources told Reuters Thursday. But, de facto OPEC leader Saudi Arabia was forced to delay making a final decision on how deeply it would cut production until after it meets with non-OPEC heavyweight Russia.

The meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC members comes at a time when the oil market is near the bottom of its worst price plunge since the 2008 financial crisis.

Brent was trading at $59.98 a barrel, down 0.2 percent, at around 05:15 a.m. ET (10:15 a.m. GMT), while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) stood at $51.18, around 0.6 percent lower.

2018-12-07 07:31:30

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