(Vienna) REUTERS: OPEC moved closer yesterday towards boosting oil output as its leader Saudi Arabia appeared to have persuaded arch-rival Iran to cooperate, after major consumers warned of a supply shortage.
Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC Russia have said a production increase of about 1 million barrels per day (bpd) or around 1 percent of global supply had become a near-consensus proposal for the group and its allies.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is gathering in Vienna amid calls from the United States, China and India to cool down the price of crude and prevent an oil deficit that would hurt the global economy.
OPEC in theory needs the agreement of all members to clinch a deal but has in the past agreed production pacts without Iran, which has criticised the idea of raising supply as it faces export-crippling U.S. sanctions.
“We are cooking something,” Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told reporters after meeting Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih before the OPEC talks.
Iran, OPEC’s third-largest producer, has so far been the main barrier to a deal as it called on OPEC to reject pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to pump more oil.
Trump imposed fresh sanctions on Tehran in May and market watchers expect Iran’s output to drop by a third by the end of 2018. That means the country has little to gain from a deal to raise OPEC output, unlike top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.
Falih said the overwhelming majority of producers had recommended raising output by 1 million bpd, gradually and on a pro-rata basis.