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Brent Slightly Up Over Unexpected OPEC-Russia Meet

Oil has risen 2 percent since this morning on speculation ahead of a meeting tomorrow in Doha among ministers from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar and Venezuela.

After-hours Brent crude trading today gained more than 60 cents, rising to more than $34 per barrel by 2:30 p.m. EST.

U.S. futures gained about 30 cents by the close of trade at 1 p.m. EST.

Much of the price speculation comes because the meeting was unannounced and some believe this means there could be a production slash deal in the works.

The meeting will be attended by Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Ali al-Naimi.

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“The back channel talks, which Qatar is brokering, had been in place for a while,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd. in London, told Bloomberg. “These are still very early days and nothing concrete has been agreed, but there is a growing sense that countries could be more flexible, although Riyadh would insist that everyone else contribute to the cut.”

Earlier on Monday, crude oil prices had gained somewhat on a statement by UAE Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazrouei suggesting that OPEC was potentially willing to discuss a production cut. On Monday morning, light, sweet crude future for March delivery wase up 39 cents, or 1.4 percent, on the New York Mercantile Exchange, reaching $29.83 per barrel.

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Brent crude for April delivery was up 31 cents, or 0.9Q percent, on London’s ICE Futures exchange, reaching $33.67 per barrel after falling below $30 on Thursday.

The comes after crude futures made their largest one-day percentage gain since 2009 last Friday, up 12 percent.

The surprise Doha meeting has now pushed prices up to their impressive Friday gains, but one negative sentiment tomorrow will send them back down.

By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com

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