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OPEC Keeps Oil-Freeze Idea Alive Even as Iran Obstacle Remains

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Iraq’s crude production, including from fields in the semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region, is now at a level of between 4.7 million barrels a day and 4.8 million barrels, Al-Nima said.

The worldwide benchmark of oil prices – Brent oil – also tumbled by over 4%.

On April 17, Doha, Qatar, hosted a meeting of representatives of oil-producing countries. This would support oil prices amid the supply glut in the Market.

“History tells us that the prospect of an agreement was fairly slim, and that is how it turned out”.

“Revived hope about the big freeze has traders covering their shorts”, said Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Iran didn’t even show up for the talks after saying initially that its OPEC representative would attend.

However, Iran effectively said “screw you” to Saudi Arabia – one of the world’s largest oil producers. After news of the non-agreement reached markets, oil fell with Brent crude hitting $41.03, and WTI fell to $38.44. Back in 1986, Saudi was focused on the threat of the Soviet Union’s booming, higher-cost production, and boosted output by 1.6 million barrels a day to flood the market and leave itself as the strongest player standing. Saudi Arabia retreated from freezing production without Iran’s participation.

The some 18 oil exporting nations, including non-OPEC Russia, had gathered in the Qatari capital of Doha for what was expected to be the rubber-stamping of a deal to stabilize output at January levels until October 2016.

The participants of the meeting failed to agree on the “freeze” of oil production level.

Oil prices may be getting propped up somewhat by news that a Kuwait oil workers strike has cut the country’s crude output in half.

“It was always going to be hard for OPEC and non-OPEC countries to reach an agreement, particularly as OPEC has led the over-production drive which has brought the barrel price down as low as $26″. Prices, however, have rebounded by more than 50 percent since mid-February, partly on the expectation that major producing countries would freeze production.

The long-term impact of the failure to reach a compromise will likely take place over a longer time frame until the market rebalances and potential geopolitical risks stemming from low prices abate.

Kim Earnest

The author Kim Earnest

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