Saudi Arabia works on convincing Russian Federation to join oil cuts

Crude Oil Up for the Week

Ministers from the core OPEC group, which doesn't include Russian Federation, will meet on Thursday to seek a consensus on exactly who will cut and by how much.

When President Trump announced his decision to pull the USA out of the Iran Nuclear Deal and reimpose sanctions on the Islamic Republic, many oil producers ramped-up production over fears of the effects the sanctions would have on trading.

Members have hinted they plan to cut output by 1.3 million barrels a day, which President Trump fears would cause fuel prices to rise.

Traders said oil prices were being weighed down by weak global financial markets, which saw stock markets tumble on Thursday. "How OPEC communicates this to the market may be just as important as what gets done".

Riyadh wants Moscow to contribute at least 250,000-300,000 bpd to the cut but Russian Federation insists the quantity should be only half of that, OPEC and non-OPEC sources said.

"I think the likelihood is that they will cut crude production rate, maybe not as dramatically as some people would like, to try and meet a balance between what the USA would like and their own personal interests". Those differences persisted after Wednesday's meeting, OPEC delegates said.

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In a sign of easing tensions between the world's two biggest economies, Chinese oil trader Unipec plans to resume United States crude shipments to China by March after the Xi-Trump deal at the G20 meeting reduced the risk of tariffs being imposed on these imports, people with knowledge of the matter said.

"I hope that maybe these measures won't be necessary", he said in an interview with Bloomberg television in Vienna. If Russia does agree a cut, it would take three to four months to fully implement it, he said.

The meetings are expected to be focused on a deal to reduce output, but Iran's OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardabili believes an agreement is unlikely to be reached. Saudi Arabia, Russia and the UAE have raised output since June after Trump called for higher production to compensate for lower Iranian exports due to new US sanctions.

Resolving the group's internal differences and convincing a skeptical oil market that they're serious about preventing a new supply glut in 2019 would require ministers to conclude weeks of debate and settle on a final figure.

Ardabili says any meaningful cuts in production must be made by the countries which have pumped above their quotas in breach of a 2007 deal between OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers. "Especially the big boys - they would want to keep this cut very close to their heart".

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