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19 May 2017, 11:33 | Austin Hogan
Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation may have agreed to extend oil production cuts into 2018, but a rogue OPEC member like Iraq could still derail the plan, according to Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.
"The agreement needs to be extended as we will not reach the desired inventory level by end of June", Saudi Arabia's Khalid Al-Falih said during the event with Russia's Alexander Novak.
Benchmark futures prices for US crude rose 3.2% on the news to trade at $49.41 a barrel by 0800 Eastern Time, while shares in big shale oil and gas companies such as and Whiting Petroleum were also higher.
The ministers will consult with other oil-producing countries with "the goal of reaching full consensus on the 9-month extension" they are seeking, the statement said.
Opec, Russia and other producers originally agreed to cut output by 1.8-million barrels per day in the first half of 2017, with a possible six-month extension.
OPEC and some non-OPEC producers agreed in December to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day for six months to help stabilize oil prices.
Oil prices have gained support from the supply cut pact but high inventories and rising United States production have acted as a brake on the recovery.
However, there is no final deal yet despite the pledge by Saudi Arabia - the world's top exporter and de-facto leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) - and top producer Russian Federation, as the 12 remaining OPEC members and other producers participating in the cuts have to agree to the extension during a meeting on May 25.
Oil halted gains near $48/bbl after US rigs targeting crude rose a 17th week, countering a report that OPEC and other major producers reached an initial agreement to extend output cuts. Oman said it fully supported the idea of a nine-month extension. At that rate, according to a report at Bloomberg, by the end of this year, lower crude production will remove about 120 million barrels from global stockpiles. USA output has risen more than 10% since the middle of a year ago, and data released on Friday by oil services firm Baker Hughes showed that the number of active rigs across the country rose for the 17th week in a row.
The first source familiar with Iranian thinking said it was necessary to support prices to ensure there is enough investment in supplies to avoid shortages in future, echoing a view often expressed by Saudi Arabia.
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