Saudis offer oil cut for OPEC deal if
Iran freezes output: sources
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[September 23, 2016]
DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) - Saudi
Arabia has offered to reduce oil production if rival Iran agrees to cap
its own output this year, in a major compromise ahead of talks in
Algeria next week, three sources familiar with the discussions told
The offer, which has yet to be accepted or rejected by Tehran, was made
this month, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Riyadh is ready to cut output to levels seen early this year in exchange
for Iran freezing production at the current level, which is 3.6 million
barrels per day, the sources said.
"They (the Saudis) are ready for a cut but Iran has to agree to freeze,"
one source said.
Two more sources confirmed the offer was presented to Tehran.
The first source did not say by how much Riyadh would cut if Iran agreed
to freeze at 3.6 million bpd, which has been the OPEC nation's output
for the past three months.
Riyadh's production has spiked since June due to summer demand, reaching
a record high in July of 10.67 million bpd and edging down to 10.63
million bpd in August.
From January to May, Saudi Arabia produced around 10.2 million bpd.
Two sources said Saudi Arabia's Gulf OPEC allies the United Arab
Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait were expected to contribute to any reduction
if an agreement were reached.
Saudi Arabia, by far the largest producer in the Organization of the
Petroleum Exporting Countries, will shoulder the biggest cut, the
The proposal can be seen as a shift by Riyadh, which orchestrated the
current OPEC policy in 2014 by refusing to cut output alone to support
prices and chose to defend market share against rivals, particularly
A fall in oil prices to $30-$50 per barrel from levels as high as $115
seen in June 2014 led to a boost in global oil demand and a decline in
high-cost supplies such as those from the United States.
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The logo of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
(OPEC) is pictured at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, May 30,
2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
But the Saudi strategy caused a rift in OPEC, whose poorer members
have faced a budget crisis and unrest. Riyadh and its Gulf allies
also had to tighten their belts after a decade of generous public
As the pain of cheap oil grew and pressures on Saudi finances
increased, Riyadh and Tehran signaled they were willing to show more
flexibility to prop up prices.
However, the first attempt at a global production pact collapsed in
April when Riyadh insisted Tehran participate. Iran has said it will
not join any such agreement until it regains market share and boosts
output to pre-sanctions levels of around 4 million bpd.
OPEC members will meet on the sidelines of the International Energy
Forum, which groups producers and consumers, in Algeria from Sept.
26-28. Non-OPEC producer Russia is also attending the forum.
(Reporting by OPEC team; Editing by Dale Hudson)
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