Big audience expected for OPEC production meeting

Representatives from nearly a dozen countries outside of the OPEC-led production deal expected to attend a meeting to decide its fate.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Nov. 29, 2017 at 6:27 AM
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Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Russian media reported Wednesday that delegates from 10 countries not party to an OPEC production cut agreement are attending meetings to decide its fate.

Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and parties to a multilateral deal to balance an oversupplied market with production cuts are in Vienna this week. On Thursday, representatives will decide on the duration of an agreement seen as propping up crude oil prices.

Russian news agency Tass reported that sources taking part in the meetings expected representatives from 10 countries that don't currently contribute to the agreement to attend Thursday's meeting.

"Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and some African countries - Chad, the Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal will take part," one source was quoted as saying. "Egypt, Uganda and Bolivia have also confirmed (participation)."

A second source said Bolivia may be represented, but stressed attendance doesn't necessarily mean new participants are imminent.

Of the participants referenced by Tass, those from West Africa are among the more promising new producers. Work is underway to bring the SNE oil basin offshore Senegal into service. When discovered in 2014, the basin was counted among the largest in the world. By the estimates of the companies involved, Senegal could hold more than 1.5 billion barrels of oil off its coast

Region-wide, however, a regional profile from consultant group Wood Mackenzie found production has been hit hard by a lack of investments. Production expectations have been lowered by 700,000 bpd and more than 80 projects have been downgraded, deferred or cancelled in Angola and Nigeria alone.

Nigeria is an OPEC member, but excluded from the deal so it can steer oil revenue toward national security efforts.

The current OPEC agreement, which sidelines about 2 percent of total global crude oil demand, expires in March. The duration is under review and Russia's stance on the agreement is critical as it's the largest non-OPEC contributor.

Minutes from a mid-November meeting between Russian energy leaders and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak could indicate reluctance to move with much vigor as leaders expressed support for markets "in the current format."

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