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Sub-anchor: OPEC oil output


11-30-2016 16:19 BJT

The OPEC ministers meeting is a key to see whether the members can reach a production deal.

OPEC said two months ago that it had "agreed to agree" on a deal to cut production to between 32.5 and 33 million barrels. But the cartel hasn't yet reached any agreement on the specifics of a possible deal.

A marathon meeting of OPEC experts on Monday failed to reach an agreement for the bloc's ministers to discuss on Wednesday. Even before the meeting, output in the OPEC member countries reached an eight-year high of 33.7 million barrels a day in October.

With 14 OPEC members, the key to whether a production deal can be reached lies with the three biggest producers - Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq.

Saudi Arabia suggested that Iran freeze its production at 3.7 million barrels a day.

That's while Iran said it hopes a freeze would be set at 3.97 million barrels. Meanwhile, Iraq said earlier that it should be exempt from any production moves due to its ongoing war.

However, Iraq said in last-minute negotiations that it would hold its output steady to secure an agreement to bolster oil prices.

Goldman Sachs analysts expect that a deal might be reached shortly. They say that would ease the over-supply, and push prices to as high as 55 US dollars a barrel in the first half of next year. But they said the higher prices would also boost American output of shale oil and cause prices to decline again before the end of 2017.

Energy Aspects analysts believe the chances of the OPEC ministers reaching a deal on Wednesday are about 50/50. They say that should a deal fail, the oil market will see a “sharp correction” and prices may plunge to 20 dollars a barrel.

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