Oil falls as Opec nears deal to raise output


Iran is particularly vocal about its objections as it braces for the impact of fresh United States sanctions on its oil exports after President Donald Trump quit the global nuclear agreement.

Ahead of Friday's meeting, OPEC's largest producer, Saudi Arabia, was seen to be open to higher production but Iran had been hesitant.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other top crude producers, meeting in Vienna, agreed to raise output from July by about 1 million barrels per day (bpd) after its de facto leader Saudi Arabia persuaded Iran to cooperate in efforts to reduce the price of crude and avoid a supply shortage.

High volume oil consumers like India seem to be heading for some relief, with crude oil prices falling sharply on Thursday as major oil exporters indicated that a consensus on increasing crude oil production was near.

However, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al Falih convinced his Iranian peer Bijan Zanganeh to support the increase just hours before Friday's OPEC meeting.

Still, some analysts believe that a combination of the OPEC deal, USA oil, and an easing of American demand for energy should eventually contribute to lower oil prices, which in May hit their highest levels in more than three years.

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The problem for traders and ministers trying to estimate the price needed to rebalance the market is that consumption responds to price changes with a delay of six to 18 months.

Brent crude rose $1.86, or 2.5 percent, to $74.91 a barrel by 1:34 p.m. EDT.

But on Friday, Saudi Arabia's energy minister Khalid al-Falih persuaded Mr Zanganeh to accept the proposal Riyadh and non-OPEC member Russian Federation had been championing. Iran will struggle to increase production, meaning it could lose market share and revenue to its rivals.

The statement did not say how exactly the production increase would be split between OPEC and non-OPEC nations.

Iran, OPEC's third-largest producer, says its output is likely to fall in the second half of this year due to new US sanctions.

Nigerian Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, asked by reporters about his position on easing output cuts, said: "We need to discuss with our colleagues first before we make those decisions".

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The cartel has overcome opposition from Iran and will raise output by one million barrels per day.

There is concern that a shortage and rising prices could cripple the global economy. Iran is usually not part of the committee, which includes Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Algeria and Venezuela.

Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran's ambassador to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), said that any increase in current production levels would be against a deal that OPEC and non-OPEC producers reached in 2016.

Today's OPEC meeting is also highly important for the market watchers amid the growing trade tension between the United States and China, where both the countries have warned imposing import tariffs on each one's crude products.

Last month, the Saudi energy minister commented again on the much-hyped IPO, saying that it was "most likely" to take place in 2019, likely confirming that plans for the sale of 5 percent in Aramco had been pushed from this year to next.

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Oil prices surged almost 75 percent, touching $80 a barrel, after OPEC and allies agreed to cut production in late 2016. Oil futures settled lower before an OPEC meeting expected to increase the world's supply of crude.