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  • OPEC President Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei (L) and OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo in Vienna, Austria.

    OPEC President Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei (L) and OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo in Vienna, Austria. | Photo: Reuters

Published 7 December 2018

The OPEC meeting in Vienna has been tacitly marked by the United States pushing Saudi Arabia to maintain oil production levels and prevent price increases.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will resume discussions Friday in Vienna, Austria to reach an agreement regarding cutting the global oil supply in 2019.

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On Thursday, OPEC tentatively agreed to an oil output cut. However, the energy organization could not decide on concrete reductions as it was awaiting Russia's definitions.

Iran, which came under U.S. sanctions in November, was also holding up a final deal. "Iran will insist on an exception until sanctions are removed," one of the OPEC sources said.

Additionally, Saudi Arabia has been facing pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to refrain from cutting supplies. And with Trump aiming to continue to squeeze Tehran with sanctions, a global oil output reduction would benefit Iran through increased international prices.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih was not confident the Vienna meeting would produce a deal.

"U.S. political pressure is clearly a dominant factor at this OPEC meeting, limiting the scope of Saudi actions to rebalance the market," Gary Ross, chief executive of Black Gold Investors, explained.

OPEC delegates said Thursday that the group and its allies could cut production, by 1 million barrels per day (bpd), if Russia contributed 150,000 bpd.

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