Oil producers may meet in April over output freeze
Major oil producers are likely to meet in April to discuss a proposal to freeze output at January levels to stabilise the market, according to four Gulf Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) delegates.
Ministers from some members of the OPEC had suggested that such a meeting would take place this month in Russia. The talks are now most likely to occur in Qatar’s capital Doha, said three of the delegates, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public.
The probability that Doha will play to host the meeting is high as Qatar is president of the OPEC ministerial conference this year, even as Russia is the country that called for the meeting, two of the delegates said.
The meeting may still not take place if there aren’t many important producers attending and agreeing beforehand to freeze production, three delegates said.
Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Qatar in February proposed an accord to cap oil output and reduce a worldwide surplus.
Crude prices extended gains after their initial meeting on February 16 and have climbed more than 40 per cent since slumping to a 12-year low in January.
Prices may have passed their lowest point as shrinking supplies outside OPEC and disruptions inside the group erode global oversupply, the International Energy Agency said on March 11.
Iran plans to boost crude output to four million barrels a day, the highest level since 2008, before it will consider joining other suppliers in seeking ways to re-balance the global oil market. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak met yesterday with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh in Tehran.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said last month in Houston, U.S.A. that the process of devising a freeze agreement would continue with more discussions in March.
Minister of State for Petroleum, Emmanuel Kachikwu said two weeks later that talks would convene in Russia on March 20.
Russia’s Novak told state television channel Rossiya 24 on March 4 that a meeting could take place between March 20 and April 1 in Russia, Doha or Vienna, where OPEC has its headquarters.
So far, no country has received invitation or an agenda for a meeting, the four OPEC delegates said.