OPEC pushes for consensus on oil cut, gaps narrowing: sources

Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:01pm EST
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By Alex Lawler and Rania El Gamal

LONDON/DOHA (Reuters) - OPEC officials are working to nail down details of their plan to limit oil supply and gaps over some sticking points are narrowing, OPEC sources said, a sign of progress in finalizing the exporter group's first such deal since 2008.

OPEC agreed in Algeria on Sept. 28 to limit supply with special conditions given to Libya, Nigeria and Iran, whose output has been hit by wars and sanctions. The details are meant to be finalised when OPEC ministers meet in Vienna on Nov. 30.

With two weeks to go, differences persist over details and the prospect of a supply glut persisting in 2017 has weighed on oil prices LCOc1, which are below $47 a barrel. Crude reached a 2016 high near $54 after the September deal.

Two sources familiar with discussions said efforts were under way to narrow gaps and a final agreement would be reached.

"It is difficult at some points but I don't see any deadlock," one of the sources said. "What happened in Algeria gave a lot of hope and impetus and I think people are committed to that."

One issue has been the level of production at which Iran would be expected to freeze its output.

Sources say Iran wants an output cap of 4 million barrels per day, while other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries want Iran to freeze supply at about 3.7 million bpd.

This issue, several OPEC sources told Reuters, was a source of tension at an Oct. 28 meeting in Vienna of the High Level Committee, a panel looking at how to divide the Algeria agreement into individual supply limits.   Continued...

OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo (L) and Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro shake hands during their meeting at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins