OPEC, an intergovernmental organisation of 15 nations, is looking to slash oil production over fears of a glut in supply which has seen prices crashing globally in recent weeks. A cut from between 1 million to 1.4 million barrels per day is being expected by oil market watchers ahead of the meeting in Vienna, Austria, today. The influential oil cartel is effectively waiting on the next movement from Russia to determine exactly how many barrels will be stripped back next year. Three delegates said OPEC and its allies could cut output by 1 million barrels per day if Russia contributed 150,000 bpd of that reduction.
If Russia contributed around 250,000 barrels per day, the overall cut could exceed 1.3 million barrels per day.
Russian energy minister Alexander Novak is understood to have flown back from Vienna earlier today for possible talks with President Vladimir Putin.
Mr Novak will return to Vienna on Friday for the OPEC and allies meeting.
Both Brent Crude and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) were down by more than 4 percent at around 11.00am GMT.
Brent Crude was trading at around $58.70 per barrel, a drop of 4.65 percent, while WTI was worth $50.44 per barrel, losing 4.63 percent.
The energy minister of Saudi Arabia Khalid al-Falih was reported today to have said a cut of 1 million barriers per day would be sufficient for OPEC.
Mr al-Falih, said today: “We hope to conclude something by the end of the day tomorrow… We have to get the non-OPEC countries on board.
“If everybody is not willing to join and contribute equally, we will wait until they are.”
OPEC has come under pressure in recent weeks from United States President Donald Trump, who urged the organisation to make oil cheaper by refraining from output cuts.
Mr Trump tweeted on Wednesday: “Hopefully OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted.
“The world does not want to see, or need, higher oil prices!”
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said today he would support a cut as long as Iran did not need to reduce its own output.
Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban said Iraq, which is OPEC’s second-largest producer behind Saudi Arabia, would support and join a cut.
Iranian exports have plummeted after the US imposed fresh sanctions on Tehran in November.
But Washington gave sanctions waivers to some buyers of Iranian crude, further raising fears of an oil glut next year.