Tuesday, 17 September 2019 06:30 GMT
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Opec+ proposes mid-July meeting on output plans amid dispute over dates




(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Opecproposed mid-July meetings with its allies in Vienna to discuss
extending production cuts, after talks between Russia and Iran made some
progress toward resolving a standoff over the date.
The oil
producers group, which pumps more than half the world's crude, has been
bickering for a month about the timing of ministerial talks. Their
failure to agree a date just weeks before their production cuts expire
gives turbulent markets little reassurance as crude prices extend their
slump.
After discussions with his Russian counterpart on Monday,
Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said he was willing to hold a
meeting on July 10 to 12, a week later than most other members had
wanted. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries formally
proposed those dates to members yesterday and said it would await their
responses, according to a delegate from the group.
While this marked a small victory for Zanganeh, Iran had to drop its previous insistence that Opec should gather next week.
'I
don't have a problem with July 10 to 12, Zanganeh told reporters in
Tehran on Monday. 'I cannot meet 3rd or 4th of July. It's not that I'm
opposed to it, I can't meet then.
Five delegates from the group, who
asked not to be named while discussing internal deliberations, said on
Monday that they weren't certain that Iran's proposal would be accepted
by other members.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said he is
ready to consider holding the meeting on July 10 to 12, but hasn't yet
discussed the dates with his Saudi counterpart Khalid al-Falih,
according to reports from Interfax and RIA Novosti.
The original
request to shift the date of the meeting from June to July came from
Russia, which despite being an outsider has exerted a strong influence
over the group since joining forces almost three years ago.
Differences
over the timing began as a mere scheduling clash, but escalated rapidly
into a diplomatic spat that pitted long-standing regional rivals Saudi
Arabia and Iran against each other.
The dispute played out amid a
broader geopolitical confrontation as the Saudis and the US accused
Iran of complicity in attacks on two oil tankers near the Strait of
Hormuz on June 13. Iran, which is under US sanctions, denied
culpability.
Algeria, like Iran, initially opposed pushing the
meeting to July, saying the new date would conflict with a planned
election in the North African country. The Algerians later cancelled
their July 4 vote, leaving Iran as the sole holdout against the
rescheduled meeting.
Zanganeh, when asked about Russian minister
Novak‘s response to his proposal for July 10-12, said: 'He's not the
decision maker, the decision maker is Opec and Opec must reach a
consensus. Novak left the meeting in Tehran without speaking to
reporters.
For all the uncertainty over the meeting date, Opec and
its allies appear to be heading for an extension of their production
cuts amid doubts about the strength of global demand as the economy
shows signs of slowing.
'There will not be room for the cartel to
increase output for the rest of 2019 in our view, Rystad Energy's chief
oil market analyst Bjornar Tonhaugen said in a note yesterday. 'As
non-Opec+ adds more supply than global demand is increasing by, Opec+
will still be pressured to manage production in order to balance the
global market.

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Opec+ proposes mid-July meeting on output plans amid dispute over dates

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