UAE hopeful of OPEC deal on extending production cap
VIENNA - The United Arab Emirates energy minister said on the eve of a meeting of OPEC and its allies on extending an oil production cap that he is hopeful a deal will be reached.
"I am optimistic that this group of committed countries will come up hopefully on Thursday with a decision that is good for the market," UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said Wednesday in Vienna.
Twenty four countries agreed at the end of last year to limit their crude output, which has led to a recovery of oil prices that fell under $30 per barrel at the beginning of 2016.
The deal that reduced production by 1.8 million barrels per day has already been given more time once, and discussions are about extending it beyond March 2018.
Mazrouei, who met with his Saudi and Kuwaiti counterparts earlier on Wednesday, did not comment on his discussions.
Gulf nations traditionally meet ahead of OPEC meetings to agree a common policy.
"We need to meet, there's nothing I can tell you now. We need to wait for the meeting," he told journalists, referring to the important technical meeting to be held on Wednesday afternoon.
That meeting involving ministers from several nations, including major producers Saudi Arabia and Russia, was due to give a recommendation for the main gathering on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia may have difficulty, however, in convincing Russia to agree to extend the production cuts to the end of 2018, as Moscow has made it known it feels the rise in the price of oil is mostly benefitting US companies.
Uncertainty over Russia's position was weighing on the price of oil, with the main international contract, Brent, down 16 cents to $63.08 a barrel around 1200 GMT.