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OPEC Chairman: Output Cuts Are The ‘’Only Viable Option’’

Tsvetana Paraskova

OPEC and its non-OPEC partners are expected to unanimously decide to extend the production cuts at the Vienna meeting on November 30, but the duration of the extension is still under negotiation, the UAE’s Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said at a conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

“I think this group of committed and responsible producers came together... and I think they will continue to do what it takes to take us to the next level,” AFP quoted al-Mazrouei as saying.

Commenting on the cuts, OPEC’s Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo used equally as strong words, saying that the production cuts were the “only viable option” to restore stability to the oil market.

Today’s comments add to the voices that have suggested OPEC producers will decide to extend now, instead of waiting until early next year to see where the oil market is going.

Al-Mazrouei said that he hadn’t “heard anyone” proposing to allow the extension to expire after March 2018, but the duration of a new rollover of the cuts would be “subject to discussion.”

“I am hopeful that we will reach an agreement that will lead to more stabilisation in the market and more investments coming to the market," he said.

Related: Is China Heading Toward An Energy-Debt Crisis?

OPEC members are leaning toward a nine-month extension of the production pact until the end of 2018, and the market is already pricing this in to some extent, but in recent weeks there has been speculation as to whether the cartel and its allies will decide and communicate a firm decision for extension at the meeting at the end of this month.

“I don’t see the need to delay the decision until March ... We are not going to meet in that quarter unless it is extraordinary,” the UAE’s Al-Mazrouei said today, as quoted by Reuters.

The UAE favors an extension of the deal, Al-Mazrouei said, but he could not say yet if the UAE would support keeping the production cuts through the whole of 2018.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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