OPEC experts resume talks on oil output cut, delegates upbeat

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VIENNA/DUBAI, NOVEMBER 22, 2016 – OPEC experts discussing how to implement a plan to cut oil output are likely to reach agreement later on Tuesday, a Nigerian delegate said, a possible sign of progress in finalising the group’s first supply-limiting deal since 2008.

The High-Level Committee – a technical body comprised mainly of OPEC governors and national representatives who report to their respective ministers – started a second day of talks at OPEC headquarters in Vienna at about 0930 GMT.

The committee does not decide policy. It will issue recommendations to OPEC’s next ministerial meeting, on Nov. 30.

The key issue before the committee is how to implement a September agreement by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to reduce production to between 32.5 million and 33 million barrels per day – an effort to prop up prices.

OPEC’s 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 want to increase supply.

But arriving for the meeting, a Nigerian OPEC delegate said all countries should be in agreement by the end of the day and that the committee was discussing a six-month duration for the output-limiting plan, starting in January.

“The likelihood is that everybody will be on board by the end of today,” Nigerian delegate Ibrahim Waya said. Asked whether that included Iran and Iraq, he replied: “Everybody.”

Delegates attending the first day of talks on Monday were upbeat, in contrast to a meeting in October. Sources said one of the issues then was the level at which Iran should limit output. Algeria said last week Iran was not a problem.

But in a reminder of remaining challenges, Iraq’s foreign minister said on Tuesday in Budapest that OPEC should allow Iraq to continue raising output with no restrictions.

OPEC’s talks are now focusing on limiting supply to 32.5 million bpd, one delegate said on Tuesday. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih urged OPEC last week to cut supply to the low end of the agreed range.

“We’re going to continue until November 30 if necessary to make everything smooth for the ministers,” the OPEC delegate said.

 

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