Russian Oil Tsar to Meet OPEC as Saudis Keep Market Guessing

Reuters

VIENNA, Nov 25 (Reuters) – Russia's most powerful oil official, Igor Sechin, was due in Vienna on Tuesday for talks with OPEC members as the group's leader Saudi Arabia kept the market guessing about its response to flagging oil prices.

Sechin, the head of state oil company Rosneft and a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is expected to meet OPEC officials amid hints from Moscow that Russia could cut output or exports if the producer group does the same.

Oil prices have fallen 30 percent since June to below $80 per barrel as a global oil glut has built up on the back of a U.S. shale boom and lower global demand because of slower economic growth in China and Europe.

Current prices are far below what most OPEC members and rival producers such as Russia need to balance their budgets.

Oil market watchers are divided on the outcome of the meeting in Vienna. Predictions range from a large OPEC production cut to revive prices, to a small reduction, or none at all.

Some analysts say an OPEC cut of as much as 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) is needed to support oil prices and avoid a glut aggravating in the first half of 2015.

However, Saudi Arabia has kept the market guessing in recent weeks about its intentions.


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