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Top Saudi, Algerian Officials To Discuss Output Deal With OPEC Chief

As oil producers are moving to reconcile their previously irreconcilable stances on a global output freeze deal, OPEC’s secretary-general Mohammed Barkindo will be meeting the Saudi and Algerian oil ministers in Paris on Friday as part of a push to reach an agreement that would prop up crude prices, Reuters reported on Thursday, quoting OPEC sources and an Algerian official.

“There is a strong move towards a deal between OPEC and non-OPEC to at least freeze production,” an OPEC source told Reuters.

Ahead of the Algiers informal OPEC meeting later this month, OPEC’s chief has had a busy week this week, meeting with the Iranian president and the Algerian and Qatari oil ministers. Of course, OPEC’s press releases have not indicated who’s in or out of a potential deal.

Iran has said it supports measures that would stabilize the market, but has never indicated that it would join the production-freeze party. Rather, it has suggested that it should be exempt from production caps until it reaches its pre-sanction levels of production. Russia expressed a similar view, by words of its president Vladimir Putin last week.

Heavyweight producers have been seeking to convince Iran to join the deal, Reuters’ OPEC source said. There is a sort of early understanding that the cartel and partners would propose exemption only for Libya, the source noted.

Also on Thursday, Iran, as well as Iraq, indicated that they would increase their respective crude productions and are not ready to freeze at their current output levels. An official from Iran’s state-run oil company said that the meeting in September would be too early to discuss freezing output, and that they wouldn’t be amenable to discussing a production cap until output reaches pre-sanction levels.

“As soon as we come back to pre-sanction levels, we will be ready to discuss quotas and level of production,” Mohsen Ghamsari, director for international affairs at National Iranian Oil Company, said in an interview in Singapore.

Iraq, OPEC’s second largest producer, also chimed in when Falah Al-Amri, director general of Iraq’s Oil Marketing Company (SOMO), said that Iraq would support a freeze “for a certain period”.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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