Saudi-Iran rivalries could scuttle tentative OPEC deal

And the desert kingdom, which accounts for about a third of OPEC's output, normally prevails at ministerial meetings.

But it remains to be agreed what size cuts, if any, each of Opec's members will make, particularly Iraq and Iran, the cartel's next-biggest producers.

Still, a deal is not out of the question, and even a remote possibility that it will be backed is an exciting prospect.

Crude oil prices have been gyrating in Monday's trading session, after harsh declines overnight on increasing doubts that Wednesday's critical OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) meeting will not end with an agreement on production cuts.

The Saudi stance raises chances not only of yet another inconclusive meeting.

"The Saudis want to force Iran and Iraq to do their fair share in any cuts", Ostwald added.

Welch noted that, a deal will be extremely challenging to deliver, given the political differences between members, particularly Saudi Arabia and Iran, and several OPEC nations actively trying to increase production - Iran, Iraq, Nigeria and Libya.

Penn State pummels Rutgers
Hamilton has 43 tackles and a half sack in overcoming a knee injury that caused him to miss nearly all of last season. For Penn State fans this season is a Cinderella story while for Rutgers fans there have been some growing pains.

The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin spoke to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and both highlighted "the importance of OPEC's efforts to cap production as a key measure to stabilize global oil markets". Oil prices last month climbed above $50 after the cartel pledged to cut production. And at least one important member appears to be listening.

A similar OPEC and non-OPEC meeting in October resulted in no specific pledges from outside producers to cut output, with attendees citing the lack of an internal OPEC agreement. "We are hopeful that the next OPEC meeting will save the oil market of the current crisis", he said, according to Shana, the official news service of Iran's oil ministry.

The minister is expected in Vienna later on Tuesday.

Non-OPEC producer Russian Federation confirmed on Tuesday it would not attend the OPEC gathering, but added that a later meeting was possible. To put this in context, Saudi Arabia exports eight times this volume. He added that his talks with the Algerian energy minister discussed a plan to exempt Iran from OPEC production cut scheme, he added. The latest forecasts from the U.S. Energy Department show domestic crude production is likely to hit 8.7 million barrels a day in 2017, which is 100,000 barrels a day higher than the previous estimate.

While making life cheaper for consumers and businesses, two years of low prices have wreaked havoc with the public finances of OPEC member states, even in the wealthy Gulf states.

Investors increased long positions, or bets on higher West Texas Intermediate crude prices, by 22,304 futures and options during the week ended 22 November, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Trump has promised to eliminate regulations restricting fracking, support oil and gas pipeline construction and open restricted federal lands and offshore areas for exploration, including Alaska.


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