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OPEC eyes mid-March monitoring committee meeting, mid-April full ministerial

London — A key OPEC alliance monitoring committee co-chaired by Saudi Arabia and Russia has proposed meeting on March 17-18 in Baku, Azerbaijan, to assess progress in rebalancing the oil market two and a half months into its output cut agreement.

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OPEC will then likely hold its full ministerial meeting in Vienna on April 17, with Russia and nine other non-OPEC partners joining talks the following day, officials told S&P Global Platts on Monday.

The producer group and its allies in December agreed to collectively cut 1.2 million b/d for the first six months of 2019 to prevent a supply glut after prices plummeted.

OPEC typically holds a biannual meeting in late May, or June. However, the group decided last month to push the next gathering up to April in order to more proactively respond to the market and potentially extend its cuts.

Sanctions waivers the US granted to eight countries to continue buying Iranian oil also expire in May, with the Trump administration yet to tip its hand on whether they will be extended, adding to OPEC's motivation in moving up the meeting date.

The monitoring committee is composed of ministers from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Venezuela and Algeria from OPEC and Russia and Oman from the non-OPEC contingent. Azerbaijan will join the meeting as its host.

OPEC pumped 32.43 million b/d in December, according to the latest Platts survey of OPEC production, but the 11 members with quotas under the output cut deal would need to cut another 950,000 b/d to be in compliance. The deal exempts Iran, Libya and Venezuela.

-- Herman Wang,

-- Edited by Andy Critchlow,