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OPEC grandee Attiyah says oil prices at $75/b are 'reasonable'

London — Oil prices trading between $70-75/b are "reasonable" for consumers andproducers, said Qatar's former energy minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyahin an interview with S&P Global Platts.

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Saudi Arabia and Russia are pushing for oil-producing group OPEC to scrapits current 1.8 million b/d production cut agreement in the wake of pressurefrom US President Donald Trump who has complained over high prices.

"OPEC is under a lot of pressure from politics," said Al-Attiyah, aformer president of the 14-member producer group and an adviser to Qatar'semir. He added that $70-75/b was "a reasonable price" for crude.

Oil ministers are converging on Vienna for tense negotiations this week.Saudi and non-OPEC partner Russia are proposing the producer coalitionincreases output by 1.5 million b/d in the third quarter and consider furthersteps to manage the market, Russia's energy minister Alexander Novak said overthe weekend.

However, he faces stiff opposition from Iran. The Islamic Republic hasstressed its opposition to changing OPEC's existing agreement without the fullsupport of the group.

"The issue of changing the agreement requires unanimity of all who haveto be on board," said Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran's OPEC governor, in aninterview with S&P Global Platts June 14. He added that Iran, Iraq andVenezuela were aligned on the issue.

Al-Attiyah who established the Al-Attiyah Foundation in 2015 to researchenergy issues continues to act as a close adviser to Qatar's ruling familyafter also previously serving as the gas-rich country's deputy prime minister.

"I hope OPEC will not be divided," said Al-Attiyah.

OPEC expects global demand to average 2 million b/d higher in the secondhalf of 2018 than in the first six months of the year. As a result, OPEC'sfigures suggest more than 33 million b/d of its crude is required to balancethe market in the second half, compared with current levels of 31.7 millionb/d.

--Andy Critchlow,

--Edited by Jonathan Loades-Carter,