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HomeChannelsFeaturedA deal at Algiers still looks elusive

A deal at Algiers still looks elusive

|By Arabian Post Staff| OPEC members aren’t likely to reach a supply deal in Algiers next week, but an agreement to boost prices could be drawing closer after Saudi Arabia signaled for the first time in two years that it’s willing to cut production, Bloomberg reported.

Saudi Arabia and Iran, whose rivalry thwarted a deal with other major producers in April, didn’t reach agreement after two days of preparatory talks in Vienna, including the Saudi offer to pump less if Iran caps output at current levels, the news agency said quoting two people familiar with the negotiations. While the kingdom doesn’t now anticipate any formal decision on supply will be taken in the Algerian capital, talks will continue and OPEC meets again in two months, it said.

According to Bloomberg, the impasse between the Middle East neighbors dims the prospects that OPEC and Russia will cooperate to curb a global supply glut next week — already seen as unlikely by market watchers. The delegation from Moscow only intends to join discussions after OPEC members reach a supply agreement between themselves and they could leave before the informal talks scheduled for Sept. 28, three people familiar with the matter said.

“It’s difficult to come to the conclusion that a freeze would be credible or doable,” said Ed Morse, head of commodities research at Citigroup Inc. in New York.

Saudi Arabia said it would be willing to reduce its output if Iran were to cap production at the current level of about 3.6 million, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The kingdom often does curb production at this time of year, as the surge in demand for air conditioning in the hot summer months begins to fade. The kingdom pumped a record 10.7 million barrels a day last month, an increase of 490,000 barrels a day from January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Saudis offer to Iran does signal that the kingdom is seeking some kind of deal to reduce the global oil glut after two years of leading OPEC’s strategy of unfettered production to squeeze out high-cost rivals. Oil prices remain below $50 a barrel — less than half the level of 2014 — and the International Energy Agency is predicting the surplus could persist for a fourth year into late 2017.

According to Bloomberg, the months leading up to the official OPEC ministerial meeting in Vienna on Nov. 30, will allow more time for discussions with other countries, said the person familiar with Saudi policy. The kingdom, the world’s largest crude exporter, wants to see higher prices to encourage essential investment in the energy industry, the person said. The IEA warned this month that oil and gas companies could be on track to cut spending for a third straight year.