OPEC edges closer to raising oil output, Iran's agreement is key

Oil bumps up on US inventories decline, WTI pokes back into $65

Saudi Arabia is ready to add back production it had agreed to curb in 2016, even though it is benefiting hugely from a almost 75% spike in oil prices.

If the existing deal is retained and Saudi Arabia felt there was a need to add more oil, Riyadh could still increase production unilaterally, as it did after a meeting in June 2011 ended with no decision.

It isn't oil producers calling the shots during today's favorable market for energy producers; rather a tacit agreement between the biggest producer and the biggest consumer of oil appears to be holding sway.

Jack Allardyce, oil-and-gas research analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, said he had the "expectation that supply quotas will be increased, but probably more in line with the smaller range being quoted (300,000-600,000 barrels per day) given the lack of consensus among OPEC members".

Russia, which is not in OPEC, has proposed producers raise output by 1.5 million bpd.

India is Iran's biggest oil client after China.

Friday's meeting could be a tense affair.

Prices of Brent Crude were down to $73.34 on Thursday, after highs earlier this month of around $80, while United States light crude CLc1 dropped $1 to $64.71.

Brent oil prices were down 2.3 percent LCOc1 on Thursday.

"While China could secure the crude from alternative sources, such as West Africa which has a similar quality to USA crude, the US 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 USA oil imports.

"In the long term, this will have a negative effect on the global economy even if, in the short term, it might be positive for other non-U.S. producers", Rainer Seele, chief executive at Austria's oil company OMV, said in Vienna where OPEC officials and ministers and top oil industry executives attended a seminar this week.

Falih said the exact mechanics of any increase would be decided among all OPEC members on Friday.

Zanganeh told CNN on Wednesday that if OPEC returned to regular compliance, the real supply increase from the group would constitute only around 460,000 bpd.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said Thursday that OPEC members and other countries who agreed in November 2016 to cut output should increase supply by about one million barrels per day to prevent a shortage.

"OPEC is not the place to discuss political issues or bans".

The renewed U.S. -Chinese trade tit-for-tat threatens to limit U.S. crude oil exports to China that have been gaining pace in recent months and eating into OPEC's share in the market, a market that is setting the pace of global oil demand growth. "They (Iran) have requested that but I don't think it will go anywhere", Ecuadorean Oil Minister Carlos Pérez told Reuters.

The United States, which rivals Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia for the position of world No.1 oil producer, is not participating in the current supply pact.

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