OPEC experts meeting makes progress, talks continuing

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VIENNA/DUBAI NOVEMBER 21, 2016 – OPEC experts have made some progress on the first day of a two-day meeting to nail down details of their plan to cut oil output, OPEC sources said on Monday, with some expressing optimism about the prospect of a final deal.

The second meeting of the High-Level Committee began at 0930 GMT. The committee is a technical body comprised mainly of OPEC governors and national representatives – officials who report to their respective ministers.

More than seven hours later, the first day’s talks had yet to conclude but delegates said they were making headway and the meeting was scheduled to resume on Tuesday at 0900 GMT.

“Some progress,” one of the delegates said. A second delegate said he was optimistic that the 14-country OPEC would reach a final agreement when its oil ministers meet in Vienna on Nov. 30.

Another source said there were “some concerns” from Iran, but discussions were ongoing and was confident there would be a deal on Nov. 30.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed in September to reduce production of crude oil to a range of 32.5 million to 33 million barrels per day, its first output cut since 2008, to prop up prices.

The deal faces potential setbacks from Iraq’s call for it to be exempt and from countries including Iran, Libya and Nigeria whose output has been hit by sanctions or conflict and who want to raise supply.

A first meeting of the High-Level Committee, held in October, failed to reach agreement. One issue at the talks was the level at which Iran would be expected to freeze its output, sources told Reuters.

But in recent days, ministers and officials have said OPEC was moving closer towards dealing with sticking points and most members were prepared to offer Iran flexibility on production volumes.

The committee does not decide policy and will instead make recommendations to the OPEC ministerial meeting on Nov. 30.

 

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