OPEC agrees on larger-than-expected oil cut after marathon talks

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Yet, the deal Khalid Al-Falih hammered out to reduce production by 1.2 million barrels a day, which sent oil prices soaring on Friday, was based on Saudi Arabia shouldering the lion's share of the cuts.

According to the agreement, OPEC member states contribute 0.8 million bpd output cut and non-OPEC oil pumpers including Russian Federation contribute 0.4 million bpd output cut from the production of October level.

Oil prices went up about 5%.

"OPEC, or more precisely Saudi Arabia, has been the head honcho of the oil world for almost six decades; yet these days it seems unable to make a decision without Russia's blessing, let alone without risking the wrath of the USA president", said Stephen Brennock, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates in London.

Starting in January, the countries will reduce output from October levels by 1.2 million barrels per day for a period of 6 months. "I know for a fact that oil and gas producers in the USA are probably breathing a sigh of relief that we're providing some certainty and visibility for 2019".

But after hours of talks, Iran gave OPEC the green light and Russian Federation said it was ready to cut more.


The high-stakes meeting, coming just as the U.S. Congress is ratcheting up pressure on Riyadh over its role in the murder of a Washington Post columnist and in the war in Yemen, is also Saudi Arabia's latest effort to come to grips with a double-barreled new reality.

Beyond its internal disputes, OPEC is also contending with vociferous opposition from the USA president, who's taken to using his Twitter account to berate the group's policies and sees low oil prices as key to sustaining America's economic growth.

On Twitter Wednesday, Trump urged OPEC not to restrict oil flows, but since then has not publicly addressed the market. Deepak Mahurkar, partner and leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), said that while OPEC members cut production with the intent of increasing oil prices, many other factors contribute to the final outcome and so only time will tell how the production cuts help the OPEC's cause.

Earlier Thursday, ministers were discussing a proposal to curb combined OPEC and non-OPEC output by about 1 million barrels a day, a delegate said.

Crude futures fell sharply during the previous session, after OPEC was unable to agree on the terms of crude output cuts.

On Friday, four OPEC and non-OPEC sources said Saudi Arabia's arch-rival Iran, which came under fresh United States sanctions in November, was also holding up a final deal.


"Having the next meeting in April will be important for planning purposes to speed the cycle up a bit", she said.

The gathering took place against the backdrop of oil prices having fallen a good 30 percent from more than $86 in early October.

Mohamed Azmin said this decision is a testament of Malaysia's commitment to worldwide cooperation in facing economic challenges posed by the global oil market.

Asked about pressure from Trump, Al-Falih said that oil companies in the United States would appreciate the group's efforts.

On Thursday, the Energy Information Administration said USA crude supplies fell by 7.3 million barrels for the week ended November 30.

He explained that the estimated surplus now on the market amounted to 1.3-2.4 million barrels per day. The three countries are the world's largest producers of oil.


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