OPEC+ has summoned at short notice oil ministers and delegates to Vienna on Oct. 5 for physical talks on potential production cuts, abandoning its previous plan for the meeting to be held online via video conference call.
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The 23-country alliance, known as OPEC+, was scheduled to meet online to set November production targets until the decision was taken to bring delegations to the Austrian capital. OPEC confirmed the change to a physical meeting Sept. 1.
The hastily convened meeting will be the first physical summit held by the group, which controls about 45% of global supply, since March 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and comes amid rising tensions between Russia and G7 consumer nations led by the US.
Russia has been pushing for the producer group to implement a steep 1 million b/d output cut to help push prices back towards $100/b. The decision to summon the group's ministers comes after the US government late Sept. 30 sanctioned Russia's chief OPEC+ negotiator and Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.
It is unclear whether Novak will be present at the physical meetings in Vienna, which also include the influential Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, which he co-chairs with Saudi Arabia's energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman. Russia's energy ministry had no immediate comment when contacted by S&P Global Commodity Insights.
Prince Abdulaziz called for the in-person talks, delegates said, and will be in Vienna, along with ministers from Saudi Arabia's close Gulf allies the UAE and Kuwait. Iraq, Algeria and Congo-Brazzaville will also send their ministers, delegates said.
Other delegations could not immediately be reached for comment.
After the last OPEC+ meeting on Sept. 5, ministers said in a statement that they had empowered Prince Abdulaziz, as the OPEC+ chairman, "to consider calling for an OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial meeting anytime to address market developments, if necessary."
Delegates have said Russia's favored plan of 1 million b/d cut faces some opposition with a counter proposal for a more modest 500,000 b/d reduction on the table. Any agreed cuts would come on top of the 100,000 b/d reduction for October that the OPEC+ group agreed to on Sept. 5.
Platts assessed the Dated Brent physical benchmark at $87.92/b Sept. 30, down from $132.06/b in June.
The meeting in Vienna also comes against a backdrop of heightened energy security concerns in Europe with officials across the region blaming Russia for the alleged sabotage of Nord Stream gas pipelines. Moscow denies causing the leaks which come as Norway and the UK have warned international oil companies operating in the North Sea to tighten security after unidentified drones were observed near some fields.