OPEC members and other oil-producing countries mulled cuts in output yesterday to prop up plunging prices, amid repeated calls by US President Donald Trump that they keep the taps open. “We’re looking for a sufficient cut to balance the market, equally distributed between countries,” Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters ahead of an OPEC meeting in the Austrian capital.
Oil ministers from 20 or so countries are in Vienna for two days of meetings -- first, the 15 members of OPEC, then a wider group including countries outside the cartel -- to discuss how to counter the tumble in prices over the past two months. On Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to urge producers to keep pumping.
Saudi minister al-Falih pointedly said Washington should back off. “We don’t need permission from anyone to cut,” he said. The US “is not in a position to tell us what to do,” he added. At the end of 2016, OPEC’s regular members joined forces with other countries -- most notably Russia -- to scale back output in a bid to reduce a glut that was weighing on prices. OPEC daily output stood at 32.99 million barrels in October, according to the International Energy Agency.