Oil prices ease in cautious trading ahead of OPEC meeting

Oil prices skid amid global stock market slump, swelling US supply

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Thursday reducing production by one million barrels per day would be enough for OPEC Plus.

The group may agree a formal cut of under a million barrels a day, Nigeria's oil minister, Emanuel Kachikwu said in a TV interview on Thursday morning.

Oil prices fell along with weak stock markets on Thursday, but trading was tepid ahead of a meeting by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Russia President Vladimir Putin will decide on the country's contribution to global oil output.

Five OPEC delegates told Reuters news agency the group was waiting for news from Russian Federation, as Energy Minister Alexander Novak had flown back from Vienna on Wednesday for a possible meeting with President Vladimir Putin. It comes just three years after the United States ended a four-decade moratorium on exports of its crude oil.

Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban said Iraq, which is OPEC's second-largest producer behind Saudi Arabia, would support and join a cut.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged OPEC to continue pumping at current levels in order to drive fuel prices even lower.

International Brent crude oil futures were at US$61.16 per barrel at 0757 GMT, down 92 cents, or 1.5%, from their last close.

Saudi Arabia ambassador returns to USA after Khashoggi's killing
US intelligence assessments and experts say it is unlikely the killing could have happened without the crown prince's knowledge. Lindsey Graham , R-S.C., told reporters after an hourlong briefing by Gina Haspel, the Central Intelligence Agency director.

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So I guess I should be a little bit fresher than some of my colleagues who call me from Hong Kong or somewhere else at this point. Defending champion Rickie Fowler posted a second consecutive five-under 67 to move 10 under for the tournament.

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It's not clear whether Haspel will be there, the aide said. "Every senator should hear what I heard this afternoon", Durbin said. Graham said he would not vote for the Yemen resolution. "I have not seen that intelligence nor have I even seen the conclusions.

"Trump is making America great again", said Joe McMonigle, an oil analyst at Hedgeye Risk Management LLC and a former senior official at the U.S. Energy Department.

Oil prices have crashed by nearly a third since October to around $60 per barrel as Saudi Arabia, Russia and the UAE have raised output since June after Trump called for higher production to compensate for lower Iranian exports.

The Trump administration has sent the country's special envoy for Iran Brian Hook to Vienna, where he held talks with the Saudi energy minister one day before OPEC's 175th meeting.

Qatar, a Saudi rival and Iranian ally, said this week it would leave OPEC in January.

OPEC's reliance on non-members like Russian Federation highlights the cartel's waning influence in oil markets, which it had dominated for decades.

"Yes, we will have a cut", Oman's oil minister Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi said on Wednesday evening. "Cutting production by a million barrels per day will be sufficient for OPEC-plus". By some estimates, the US this year became the world's top crude producer. While Saudi Arabia, the group's biggest producer, will shoulder most of the burden, the kingdom wants commitments from other countries before completing a final deal.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia produced a record 11.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in November, adding to the swelling glut.

One issue that might complicate relations between the United States and OPEC is the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi by people linked to the government in Riyadh. While it said it was purely a practical decision because it mainly produces natural gas and little oil, the move was viewed as a symbolic snub to the Saudi-dominated organization.

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