OPEC face steep challenge to reach oil cut deal

7 2018 shows the headquarters of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna Austria

"The declines came after crude slumped by nearly 3 percent the previous day, with the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) ending a meeting at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday without announcing a decision to cut crude supply, instead preparing to debate the matter on Friday".

International Brent crude oil futures fell below $60 per barrel early in the session, trading at $59.50 per barrel at 0144 GMT, down 56 cents, or 0.9 percent from their last close.

Brent crude futures was down $1.41 on the day to $60.15 a barrel at 1245 GMT, having hit a session low of $58.36, while USA futures were down $1.38 to $51.51 a barrel. In early trade, Brent had fallen below $60 when it looked as if oil exporters might be unable to agree a deal. Talks with other producers were being held on Friday.

Oil producers have been hit by a 30-percent plunge in crude prices since October as supply surges just as the demand outlook weakens amid a global economic slowdown.

Iran appeared on Friday to be the main obstacle to an OPEC deal to cut output.




Led by Saudi Arabia, OPEC's crude oil production PRODN-TOTAL has risen by 4.1 percent since mid-2018, to 33.31 million bpd.

For Russia, which leads the non-member countries in the so-called OPEC+ alliance, "it's much more hard to cut than for other countries, because of our climatic conditions", Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday in Saint Petersburg. OPEC sources said the group's de facto leader Saudi Arabia was opposed to exemptions in the deal demanded by Iran, which is under USA sanctions.

Analysts said a big cut would be needed to reverse recent price falls and Russia's contribution would be vital.

Talks in Vienna are due to resume today in an attempt to thrash out an agreement in conjunction with Russian Federation, the world's biggest oil producer, which is not a member of the cartel but has been coordinating with Opec since 2016.

The United States became a net exporter of oil and refined fuels last week breaking nearly 75 years of dependence on foreign oil, reported Bloomberg on Thursday.

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