Business

Opec holds talks on oil production

VIENNA, AUSTRIA The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) began debating yesterday a deal to curtail oil production and prop up the price of crude oil, with Iran and Iraq resisting pressure from Saudi Arabia to participate fully in any action.

Opec ministers started an informal meeting in Viennaand were due to begin a formal gathering at the Opec headquarters later in the day.

"There will be an agreement today," an Iraqi delegate said.

"I'm optimistic," said Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, adding that there had been no request for Iran to cut output.

On Tuesday, Iran wrote to Opec saying it wanted Saudi Arabia to cut production by as much as 1 million barrels per day (bpd) - much more than Riyadh is willing to offer, Opec sources who saw the letter told Reuters.

The 14-country group, which accounts for a third of global oil production, made a preliminary agreement in September to cap output at around 32.5-33 million bpd. This is versus the current 33.64 million bpd, to prop up oil prices, which have halved since mid-2014.

Some analysts said oil prices will correct sharply if Opec fails to reach a deal, potentially going as low as $35 per barrel. - REUTERS

Saudi ArabiaIRANIRAQ