Report: OPEC Could Meet On Oil Production Cut

OPEC's president said that member nations could meet as soon as next month to consider curbing its record high production levels.

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

The president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said that member nations could meet as soon as next month to consider curbing its record high production levels.

Emmanuel Kachikwu, who also serves as Nigeria's oil minister, told CNN that a majority of members hope to meet "without the sort of tension that we had in Vienna."

OPEC nations last met in Austria in December, when they declined to cut output levels that fueled a dramatic slide in oil prices in late 2014. Cartel members, however, appeared to be bitterly divided ahead of the vote.

Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies led the push to maintain production in a continued effort to protect their market share from more expensive fracking operations in North America.

Although the decline in oil prices led to severe cutbacks among Western producers — BP announced a round of 4,000 layoffs this week — fracking in the U.S. remains resilient.

Meanwhile, a global glut of oil remains amid a sluggish worldwide economy, which is keeping prices down and punishing OPEC and non-OPEC producers alike.

Saudi Arabia last month announced sweeping budget changes to accommodate low oil prices, while Nigeria's budget deficit is expected to double.

"We need to . . . see how we can balance the need to protect our market share with the need for the survival of the business itself, and survival of the countries," Kachikwu said.

Saudi Arabia and its friends, however, appear unlikely to budge. That bloc has long called for cooperation from non-OPEC nations on a strategy to lift prices.

"If we do something artificial, I don't think that's going to last," Suhail Mohammed Al Mazrouei, energy minister for the United Arab Emirates, told CNN.

The report also noted that Saudi Arabia is embroiled in a tense diplomatic dispute with fellow OPEC member Iran, which is poised to boost its oil output should Western nations lift economic sanctions.

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