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OPEC Output Freeze Deal To Last One Year, Secretary-General Says

The terms of a potential deal within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) may bind member countries for one year, according to comments by the bloc’s secretary-general on Tuesday.

Other officials have signaled that a binding agreement limiting oil output may be imminent, though the length of the discussed deals had been far shorter, Reuters reported.

OPEC and major oil producers outside the cartel - most notably Russia - have been in talks regarding a potential production freeze, though neither a timeline nor a baseline for the halt has been revealed so far.

"One year, we are looking at one year," OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo, who hails from Nigeria, said.

OPEC members will hold an informal meeting in Algiers on September 28th on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum.

On Monday, the Algerian Energy Minister said any OPEC production freeze would balance markets for a minimum of six months.

"I think we're likely to reach a consensus," an OPEC source close to the matter told Reuters. "There will not be a decision. The decision will be shelved until we meet in November.”

The source referred to an official OPEC meeting in Vienna scheduled for November 30th. Related: Is U.S. Shale Nearing Collapse?

An additional OPEC source contacted by Reuters said that a general outline of the deal could be complete by the end of next week’s meeting.

"A production freeze is what we all want, but I'm not sure if we will finalize all the discussions at this meeting," the source said.

Iran had refused to be part of a production freeze proposed during OPEC’s meeting in April, arguing that because international sanctions against its oil industry had been lifted just four months prior, it had a right to continue rebuilding its market share.

Saudi Arabia called off the deal at the last minute due to Iran’s non-participation.

This time around, Iran may be more willing to abide by the terms of a halt as its production rate has neared pre-sanction levels in recent weeks.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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