Mon, 20 Jan 2020

A meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has ended with an apparent informal agreement to cut oil production to help boost prices amid rising reserves and a slowing global economy, but no announcement was made pending a meeting with other countries, including Russia, set for December 6.

The crude-producing countries had met in Vienna to consider cuts deeper than their previous agreement to reduce output by 1.2 million barrels a day from the levels of October 2018.

That agreement was reached in December 2018 and extended at the last OPEC meeting in July.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh told reporters as he left the meeting in the Austrian capital late on December 5, 'Yes, we have an agreement.'

But Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman said the actual deal needed to be agreed with the additional 10 countries of the so-called OPEC+ group, including Russia, due to meet on December 6.

Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak on December 5 said a preliminary gathering of ministers had recommended an additional cut of 500,000 barrels a day be considered for the first quarter of 2020.

Oil prices have held relatively steady since the last OPEC meeting. A barrel of Brent crude is trading around the $60 mark, although it jumped for a short period in September following attacks on Saudi oil installations.

Russia is relatively comfortable with that price, with its 2019 budget being based on a price of around $42 a barrel.

However, other countries such as Saudi Arabia need a higher price to bolster their economies.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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