Trump urges against oil production cut ahead of OPEC meeting

Trump urges against oil production cut ahead of OPEC meeting

Brian Hook, the senior USA official overseeing sanctions against Iran, met with Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Wednesday morning in the Austrian capital, according to a person familiar with the matter. He haggled with counterparts from Russia, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates over the size of potential output cuts.

"If Mr. Hook has come to Vienna to apply for USA membership in OPEC, and this is the reason why he meets OPEC members, this request shall be reviewed", Zanganeh said, according to the ministry's official news service, Shana.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, December 5, urged OPEC members not to slash production at their upcoming meeting, saying global oil prices should remain low.

Saudi Arabia has indicated it wants the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies to cut output by at least 1.3 million barrels per day, or 1.3% of global production.

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

Such a move would mean cutting production by more than 1 million bpd. Then in November the US unexpectedly granted sanctions waivers to many of Iran's biggest customers, contributing to the biggest monthly crude-price slump in a decade as fears of a shortage turned into predictions of a glut.

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The deal is monitored by the Joint OPEC/Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC), which is dominated by Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation. The United States is not part of any output-limiting initiative due to its anti-trust legislation and fragmented oil industry.

Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States have been vying for the position of top crude producer in recent years.

Despite the Iranian official's remarks, Kuwait's oil ministry said on its Twitter account on Wednesday that a long-term cooperation agreement is expected to be signed between OPEC and non-OPEC countries.

During Thursday's meeting, OPEC leaders are expected to discuss how to stabilize crude oil production after US prices plunged by 22-percent in November - making it the worst month since the financial crisis in 2008.

However, when oil producers realized the sanctions fell far short of what had been expected, fears of oversupply followed. Trump wrote in a tweet ahead of the group's meeting this week to discuss possible cuts. Trump has backed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite calls from many US politicians to impose stiff sanctions on Riyadh.

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