Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

India Urges OPEC Nations To "Fill Supply Gap", Ensure Sustainable Prices

India Urges OPEC Nations To

An authoritative OPEC source disclosed in a telephone interview with Vanguard, yesterday, that while Saudi Arabia has openly canvassed for a huge increase in supply, Iran said it would compromise on a small increase in OPEC oil output.

The brewing tensions between the world's two largest economies comes ahead of Friday's highly anticipated meeting of oil ministers from around the globe at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna.

De-facto OPEC leader and top crude exporter Saudi Arabia as well as Russian Federation which is not a member of the cartel but the world's biggest oil producer, are pushing for looser supply controls. The market is now under "OPEC-Watch" with numerous major players on the sidelines until the cartel along with Russian Federation makes its decision about production rates at its meeting in Vienna on June 22-23.

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"We hope that there will be an agreement", Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi told reporters.

Other OPEC-members, including Iran, are against such a move, fearing a sharp slump in prices.

OPEC could distribute the increase unevenly to allow those that can produce more - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates - to fill in for those that cannot, although this could face resistance from countries reluctant to give up market share such as Iran.

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When OPEC and its allies, which include Russia, Kazakhstan and Mexico, agreed to cut output in late 2016, they announced a 1.8 million-barrel-a-day reduction.

Benchmark Brent crude fell $1.10 a barrel to a low of $73.64 before recovering slightly to $73.74, down $1.00 by 0820 GMT. Zanganeh has said the president is to blame for high prices because of his unilateral withdrawal from the worldwide nuclear agreement.

OPEC takes its decisions by unanimity, so if Iran were to wield its veto Saudi Arabia would be left only with the option of assembling a coalition of willing countries to bypass Tehran's opposition. Analysts, however, value the Kingdom's oil giant at much less, with the majority putting the valuation at between US$1 trillion and US$1.5 trillion. Riyadh could also act unilaterally boosting output, as it did in 2011 after a meeting ended in acrimony without a deal.

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