President Trump pressuring OPEC to increase oil production ahead of crucial meeting

Khalid Al Falih Minister of Energy Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia speaks prior to the start of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries OPEC at their headquarters in Vienna Austria Thursday Dec. 6 2018

Khalid Al Falih Minister of Energy Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia speaks prior to the start of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries OPEC at their headquarters in Vienna Austria Thursday Dec. 6 2018

President Trump's Tweet could be seen as a warning to the cartel to measure any production cuts carefully, but OPEC has always been the target of Trump's tweets, even prior to his presidency, chastising the organization for restricting oil during the near-$100/barrel days.

The cuts would take September or October 2018 as baseline figures and last from January to June, Oman's oil minister Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Rumhy said on Wednesday.

OPEC meets in Vienna on the verge of an oil production cut that would defy U.S. President Donald Trump's plea to keep the taps open.

"Hopefully, OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted".

But OPEC and its partners, who account for more than half of the world's oil output, are planning to throttle production, which could lead to rising oil prices.

"We have seen a great deal of stability and consistency, both operationally and, more importantly, in terms of security and bringing the sector back to normal", Falih said after meeting Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources.

His comments were echoed by his Nigeriancounterpart.

Opec's de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, has indicated it wants the organisation and its allies to curb output by at least 1.3 million bpd, or 1.3% of global production.

President Trump is pressuring OPEC to increase oil production as members of the organization are set to meet in Vienna on Thursday. Their summit begins Thursday. Five delegates said the group was waiting for news from Russian Federation as energy minister Alexander Novak who had flown back from Vienna for a possible meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

Iranian exports have plummeted after the United States imposed fresh sanctions on Tehran in November. Iran, too, is a wildcard in the production cut talks, with its oil minister staunchly refusing to negotiate any production cuts for as long as the country remains under U.S. Sanctions.

OPEC members are meeting to agree on their response to recent declines in oil prices.

In October, the oil price reached a four-year high of $86, but since then the price has dropped again to about $60 per barrel.

That has put OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia in a delicate position - Riyadh is keen not to incur Trump's wrath as relations between the two countries become increasingly complicated in the wake of the murder of opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump has backed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite calls from many U.S. politicians to impose stiff sanctions on Riyadh.

The Vienna meeting also comes only days after Qatar announced it would be the first country from the Middle East to withdraw from OPEC, saying it wanted to focus more on gas production.

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