OPEC enters meeting that could set direction of oil prices

High oil prices hurting fiscal balance, says Pradhan

Oil Price Fundamental Daily Forecast – Prices Dip Slightly on Reports Iran May Agree to Small Production Hike

Reports said the Saudi proposal, backed by Russian Federation, would allow several hundred thousand more barrels of oil to come to the market without amending the milestone pact - paving the way for a face-saving compromise with Iran.

Iran had been expected to oppose any rise in crude output, but it has now signaled it may support a small increase.

Iran has said that OPEC should stick to the terms of the production cut agreement, which took effect at the start of 2017 and is scheduled to run through the end of 2018.

Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia broke out days before OPEC's meeting on Friday in Vienna, with Tehran indicating it would probably not abide to the cartel's plans to cut production.

Countries in the OPEC oil cartel have agreed to a new oil output level that effectively increases production by nearly 1 million barrels per day.

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Crude Oil: OPEC tentatively agree to raise production by 1mln bpd, which will represent a real production increase of roughly 600k bpd.

"While we are not in favour of prices as low as $30 per barrel, we also do not support the prevailing high price which dent our fiscal balance and undermine our development process", Mr. Pradhan added. I reckon the size of the output increase has been baked into prices now, so it will all come down to the implementation details when the official communique is released later.

Brent oil clocked a session high of $74.21 earlier today and was last seen trading at $74.00 - up 1.25 percent on the day.

"It would seem that an aggregate increase in production for OPEC+ of between 500,000 bpd and 1 million bpd is the range that is being considered", Tchilinguirian said. It's not uncommon for the cartel to deviate from the preliminary agreement, and Iran can still scupper the deal as the group's decisions typically have to be unanimous.

"While China could secure the crude from alternative sources, such as West Africa which has a similar quality to United States crude, the USA would find it hard to find an alternative market that is as big as China", Suresh Sivanandam, senior manager, Asia refining, at Wood Mackenzie, said earlier this week, commenting on the impact of possible Chinese tariffs on U.S. oil imports.

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"This shows that China is a significant outlet for USA crude exports and the early indications are that the exports would be much higher in Q2 2018 given the lower WTI-Brent differential which made the arbitrage to Asia look more attractive", Sivanandam noted.

Analysts have called this week's OPEC talks the most fractious and politically charged in years.

"That would be a good target to work with", Al-Falih said on the eve of an OPEC summit in Vienna, Austria.

OPEC is an intergovernmental organisation with an objective "to coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its member countries and ensure stabilization of oil markets".

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