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Talks before main OPEC meeting to debate 1 million bpd output hike

Talks before main OPEC meeting to debate 1 million bpd output hike

Talks before main OPEC meeting to debate 1 million bpd output hike

Iran may agree to an increase in OPEC quotas if the organization officially condemns USA sanctions that target oil production, a source familiar with the country's position said Thursday.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets on Friday to set output policy amid calls from US President Donald Trump and China to cool down oil prices and support the global economy by producing more crude.

A production increase would help undo a 1.2 million barrel cut OPEC agreed on in late 2016 that has since helped push up the price of oil by nearly 50 percent.

As reported by Reuters, the global benchmark for oil prices Brent crude was at US$73.88 per barrel at 0144 GMT, up 1.1 per cent from their last closure.

"We're hoping to come out of this with a reasonable decision", Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters moments before the OPEC meeting opened.

Trump has in recent months repeatedly blamed OPEC for a spike in oil prices, but Zanganeh said it was USA sanctions on Iran and Venezuela that had fuelled fears of a supply crunch and put pressure on prices.

But it remains to be seen what kind of compromise could emerge, given Iran's deep aversion to any attempt by OPEC allies to offset its expected production losses as a result of the impending U.S. sanctions.

OPEC and its allies are discussing an output increase of 1 million bpd or more to avert future shortages and stock declines.

Zanganeh said he thinks $70 per barrel would be a "very good" oil price.

After an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Emirati Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said the cartel chose to fully comply with its existing production ceiling.

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Zanganeh was speaking ahead of a highly-anticipated meeting in Vienna, Austria, on Friday where OPEC members could move to ease the production cuts.

Some investors were expecting more from OPEC, and USA crude futures spiked 3.5% to $67.80.

Russia, which is not a part of OPEC but is the world's biggest oil producer, is also pushing to loosen supply controls introduced to prop up prices in 2017.

OPEC's deal to release more supply centres on the idea of returning to 100 per cent compliance with existing, agreed cuts.

Output has also plummeted in Libya, where fighting between rival factions has damaged key oil infrastructure.

The kingdom and its allies estimate that total cuts now amount to 2.8 million barrels a day.

But analysts said trade concerns and disagreements within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) over boosting supply continue to loom over the market. That means the country has little to gain from a deal to raise OPEC output, unlike top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.

Brent oil prices were up 1.9 per cent on Friday as the output boost had been largely priced in and was seen as modest.

This would nearly certainly lead to a sharp drop-off in Chinese purchases of US crude, which have boomed in the last two years to a business now worth around $1 billion per month.

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