OPEC to resume talks on production freeze

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will resume talks at a meeting in June to reach an agreement on freezing oil output, Iraq’s governor to OPEC said just days after politics thwarted a deal to cap production and curb the global glut.

No deal will be possible without a change in “political positions,” Falah Al-Amri said on his Facebook page. Negotiations among 16 oil producers in Doha on Sunday ended without any accord after Saudi Arabia demanded all producers take part in a freeze. Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran decided not to take part in the talks because it wants to restore exports which had been curbed by international sanctions.

“If there is no change in the political positions, an agreement cannot be reached,” Al-Amri said. “Prices will continue on a downward trend, especially if some producing countries continue to increase their output to cause an imbalance in crude supply and demand.”

Crude prices dropped on Monday after the failed talks and have since rebounded as oil workers in Kuwait continued a strike for a third day, cutting production. Iraq, OPEC’s largest producer after Saudi Arabia, supported an agreement reached in February between Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Qatar to cap output at January levels. It pumped a record 4.55 million barrels a day in March.

After the talks in Doha, Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said some producers are under the “illusion” that they can get the nation to limit its oil production and effectively reimpose sanctions on itself. Iran pumped 3.2 million barrels of crude a day in March, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and wants to reach 4 million barrels a day by the end of the Iranian year in March.