OPEC of­fi­cials set for flurry of meet­ings

Is­tan­bul meet­ing to nail down deal de­tails

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

DUBAI/LON­DON:

OPEC of­fi­cials are em­bark­ing on an un­usual flurry of meet­ings in the next six weeks, OPEC sources said yes­ter­day, to nail down de­tails of their deal to cut pro­duc­tion agreed last week in Al­giers.

The chain of meet­ings, start­ing with min­is­ters in Is­tan­bul next week, sig­nal that un­like in the first half of 2016, the ex­port­ing group is more se­ri­ous now about manag­ing the global sup­ply glut and prop­ping up prices. First up, OPEC en­ergy min­is­ters will be meet­ing each other and Rus­sian of­fi­cials for in­for­mal talks on oil out­put in Is­tan­bul next week as the Turk­ish city hosts the World En­ergy Congress from Oct. 9-13.

Cit­ing En­ergy Min­is­ter Alexan­der No­vak, Rus­sia’s en­ergy min­istry said in a state­ment yes­ter­day it ex­pected an out­put freeze deal could be reached be­fore the OPEC meet­ing on Nov 30. No de­ci­sion how­ever is ex­pected to be taken in Is­tan­bul, OPEC sources said, but the meet­ing will be a chance for the of­fi­cials to dis­cuss the next step af­ter the Al­giers deal, which was agreed af­ter in­ten­sive shut­tle di­plo­macy. “I have been ex­tremely en­gaged in re­cent weeks,” said an OPEC of­fi­cial in­volved in the talks. The Or­ga­ni­za­tion of the Petroleum Ex­port­ing Coun­tries on Sept. 28 agreed to re­duce out­put to a range of 32.50 mil­lion bar­rels per day to 33.0 mil­lion bpd, its first out­put cut since the 2008 fi­nan­cial cri­sis. But min­is­ters left aside the del­i­cate and crit­i­cal is­sue of how much each of the 14 OPEC mem­bers will pro­duce, hand­ing the mat­ter to what the group terms a High Level Com­mit­tee.

This com­mit­tee, which will prob­a­bly in­clude OPEC gov­er­nors and na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tives - of­fi­cials who re­port to their re­spec­tive min­is­ters - will work out de­tails of coun­try al­lo­ca­tions ahead of OPEC’s next min­is­te­rial meet­ing on Nov 30. “Ev­ery­one will be very busy un­til the end of Novem­ber,” said another OPEC source. The com­mit­tee’s first meet­ing is ex­pected to take place at OPEC’s Vi­enna head­quar­ters around Oct 28-29, OPEC sources said. This will be fol­lowed by meet­ings of the OPEC gov­er­nors to dis­cuss OPEC’s long-term strat­egy - de­layed due to dis­agree­ments last year - and other ad­min­is­tra­tive is­sues from Nov 1-4. Then, a tech­ni­cal meet­ing of OPEC’s na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tives will again meet in Vi­enna on Nov. 23-24, fol­lowed pos­si­bly by a sec­ond meet­ing of the High Level Com­mit­tee on Nov. 25, OPEC sources said, which will then present its rec­om­men­da­tions to the min­is­ters when they meet on Nov 30. The num­ber of meet­ings is not on the scale of the early 2000s, when OPEC oil min­is­ters met as many as seven times a year to mi­cro man­age sup­ply pol­icy, but it rep­re­sents an in­crease in ac­tiv­ity from the last few years. “Con­sul­ta­tions re­main on­go­ing among the OPEC-14, the High Level Com­mit­tee ini­ti­ated by the OPEC con­fer­ence is mov­ing for­ward on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Al­giers de­ci­sion,” said OPEC Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Mo­ham­mad Barkindo in a speech at the G-24 min­is­te­rial meet­ing in Wash­ing­ton. “Steps are be­ing taken to fur­ther de­velop a frame­work for high-level con­sul­ta­tions be­tween OPEC and non-OPEC oil-pro­duc­ing coun­tries. We be­lieve there is firm and com­mon ground for con­tin­u­ous col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts among pro­duc­ers, both within and out­side OPEC.” — Reuters

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