SAUDI SIGNALS COMPROMISE FOR IRAN AS OPEC DEBATES OUTPUT CUT

SAUDI SIGNALS COMPROMISE FOR IRAN AS OPEC DEBATES OUTPUT CUT

- in Iraq News
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Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister al-Falih to journalists during an OPEC meeting in Vienna

(Reuters) The deal was seen as a victory for Iran. Tehran has long argued it wants to raise production to regain market share lost under Western sanctions, when its political arch-rival Saudi Arabia increased output.

In recent weeks, Riyadh changed its stance and offered to cut its output by 0.5 million bpd, according to OPEC sources, while suggesting Iran limit production at around 3.8 million bpd – in line with or slightly above the country’s current output.

Tehran has sent mixed signals, saying it wanted to produce as much as 4.2 million bpd. Iran’s letter to OPEC suggested Saudi Arabia should cut output to 9.5 million bpd.

Documents prepared for Wednesday’s meeting propose the group cut production by 1.2 million bpd from October levels, an OPEC source familiar with the papers said.

The papers also propose Saudi Arabia reduce production to 10.07 million bpd from 10.54 million bpd in October and that Iran freeze output at 3.797 million bpd.

Iraq has also been pressing for higher output limits, saying it needs more money to fight the militant group Islamic State. Iran and Iraq together produce over 8 million bpd, only slightly behind long-time leader Saudi with 10.5 million bpd.

The argument between Iraq and Saudi Arabia mainly focuses on whether Baghdad should use its own output estimates to limit production or rely on lower figures from OPEC’s experts.

Some analysts including Morgan Stanley and Macquarie have said oil prices will correct sharply if OPEC fails to reach a deal, potentially going as low as $35 per barrel.

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