Will the Saudi-Russian oil alliance hold as production cuts are mulled?

U.S. oil prices fall for a 10th day

The rig count indicates USA crude output, already at a record 11.6 million bpd, will increase further.

Even with the slump, however, oil prices are still higher than they were a year ago.

An official from Kuwait, also an OPEC member, on Monday said that major oil exporters over the weekend had "discussed a proposal for some kind of cut in (crude) supply next year", although the official did not provide any detail.

Peter Kiernan, lead energy analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit in Singapore, said OPEC was "focused on mitigating downside risks" after crude prices declined by around 20 per cent over a month following a supply surge, particularly from the top three producers, the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Sunday he wasn't convinced the oil market would be oversupplied in 2019.

"The Committee reviewed current oil supply and demand fundamentals and noted that 2019 prospects point to higher supply growth than global requirements, taking into account current uncertainties", the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee said. After a number of extensions, the deal is expiring at the end of 2018.

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But producers ended up cutting more and so agreed in June to limit their reductions by more than their output targets, meaning restoring about 1 million bpd in output.

A decision is expected when OPEC meets next month.

"There is a general discussion about this (cut). No one wants a free fall in prices", the source added.

"Today's meeting is a clear signal producer countries are anxious about prices slipping further in the face of rising supply and weaker demand", said Jason Bordoff, a Columbia University professor and former energy official during the Obama administration.

"I think ideally we don't like to cut. We will only cut if we see a persistent glut emerging and quite frankly we are seeing some signs of this coming out of the USA, we have not seen the signs globally", he told reporters.

Brent crude, the worldwide benchmark for oil, ended last week at $70.18, down 19 per cent since October 3. It lost about 3.6 percent on the week and has shed more than 15 percent this quarter.

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