Saudi Arabia says 'not confident' OPEC can reach agreement on cuts

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Saudi Arabia has indicated it wants the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies to cut output by at least 1.3 million barrels per day, or 1.3% of global production.

"The big unknown is how President Trump will react to any production cuts", said analysts at ING.

USA crude oil stockpiles fell last week due to a surge in exports, as the country became a net exporter of crude oil and products for the first time, underscoring the nation's growing prowess as a global supplier of oil and refined products. U.S. Senators say, after a briefing with intelligence services, that they are convinced that Saudi's de-facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was involved in Khashoggi's death. However, he noted that all the participants will be listened to in order to arrive at a consensus on the issue.

The United States became a net oil exporter last week for the first time in 75 years, and even if it is likely to be for just one week, the achievement highlights the increasing global influence of the soaring USA crude oil production.

"Russia, a major oil producer but not a member of OPEC, will meet with the producer cartel on Friday to discuss production levels, and it is widely expected that a supply cut will be agreed".

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that "Hopefully OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted".

OPEC is also contending with vociferous opposition from the US president, who's taken to using his Twitter account to berate the group's policies and sees low oil prices as key to sustaining America's economic growth. "The world does not want to see, or need, higher oil prices!"

The long rally in oil prices lasted until October.

OPEC members met on Thursday in Vienna and will hold talks with allies such as Russian Federation on Friday.

One issue that might complicate relations between the USA and OPEC is the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi by people linked to the government in Riyadh.

Zanganeh said the estimated surplus now on the market amounted to 1.3-2.4 million barrels per day. If Russia contributed around 250,000 bpd, the overall cut could exceed 1.3 million bpd. Its cooperation with Russian Federation shows how much OPEC has changed since 2016 when the two countries ended their historic animosity and started to manage the market together.

The US, not a member of OPEC but a significant oil producer itself, has repeatedly called for oil prices to stay low, with Trump using Twitter several times to make the point.

The real question that needs to be answered is how much did the criticism from President Trump of OPEC's plans to cut output influence Saudi Arabia's decision to push for a smaller production cut. While it said it was purely a practical decision because it mainly produces natural gas and little oil, the move was viewed as a symbolic snub to the Saudi-dominated organization.

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