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Oil up and down prior to Opec meeting

by Erika Green

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Crude oil moved along a bumpy price track Tuesday ahead of Opec’s bi-annual meeting, which kicks off Thursday in Vienna, Kallanish Energy reports.

Expectations of output cuts from Opec+ members brought prices back up after they slid briefly following comments from President Trump that a trade deal with China may be delayed.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 14 cents to settle at $56.10 a barrel, while Brent futures fell 5 cents to $60.87/Bbl.

Trump said a U.S.-China trade agreement might have to wait until after next November’s presidential election, denting hopes of a quick resolution to a dispute that’s weighed on the world economy.

“I have no deadline, no,” Trump told reporters in London, where he was due to attend a meeting of NATO leaders. “In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal. But that’s just me thinking.”

Opec+, which includes most members of Opec, along with 10 non-Opec producers led by Russia, later this week will discuss a plan to increase an existing supply cut of 1.2 million barrels per day (Mmbpd) by an additional 400,000 Bpd, and extend the pact from March until June, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Saudi Arabia is pushing the plan to deliver a positive surprise to the market before the initial public offering of state-owned Saudi Aramco, the sources said.

At the same time, a senior official at the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Tuesday Opec producers are unlikely to agree to change their current deal on curbing output until the market outlook becomes clearer.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak Tuesday said he expected this week’s meeting to be constructive, but added that Moscow had yet to finalize its position.

Vagit Alekperov, CEO of Russia’s second-biggest oil producer, Lukoil, said it would not be expedient to deepen production cuts in the winter, especially for Russia, Reuters reported.

Opec ministers meet in Vienna Thursday, while the Opec+ group gathers Friday.

Opec cutting even more production is sweet music to the ears of U.S. shale producers, who continue to set production records.

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