Vienna- While many await the outcome of the meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna on Thursday, sources said Saudi Arabia is looking into several solutions to present during the meeting, including the possibility to restore the ceiling of oil production to 32 million barrels a day – instead of the previous 30 million- and help countries work on increasing their production to join the offer.
Meanwhile, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih continued his meetings with his OPEC counterparts on Wednesday. He sat with the energy ministers of each of Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Nigeria, Venezuela and Algeria. Al-Falih also met with head of the Russian Lukoil Company.
Al-Falih said on Thursday the kingdom will not shock the oil market and will take a “gentle” approach as it wants long-term stability, affirming his willingness to listen to any proposal Iran brings to the table at the scheduled meeting.
Tehran, however, argues that it should be allowed to raise production to levels seen before the imposition of now-ended Western sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Tehran would not support any new collective output ceiling and wanted the debate to focus on individual country production quotas.
“An output ceiling has no benefit to us,” Zanganeh told reporters upon arriving in Vienna late on Wednesday.
The new Saudi Energy Minister was the first OPEC minister to arrive in Vienna this week, signaling he takes the organization seriously.
After his meeting with al-Falih, Venezuela’s Energy Minister Eulogio Del Pino told reporters the meeting was “excellent.”
Following al-Falih’s series of meetings, analysts assumed that Saudi Arabia is determined to support OPEC and to present several solutions to please the organization’s members.
Today, OPEC members will discuss the appointment of Nigerian candidate Mohammed Barkind to the secretary general seat, to replace Libyan Abdallla Salem el-Badri. Members will also discuss the return of Gabon to the organization.
Qatar’s Energy Minister Mohammed al-Sada said on Thursday that the oil market was positive at the moment and heading towards balance, adding that all options, including that of a new OPEC crude output ceiling, were open.
Al-Sada added that the atmosphere at the OPEC meeting was positive in reference to oil markets. He said a fair price to encourage investment would require crude to be above $50 per barrel.