OPEC members and key oil producers from outside the cartel will meet on April 17 in Doha in a bid to stabilise falling crude prices, Qatari energy minister Mohammed al-Sada said Wednesday.
The meeting is a “follow-up” to last month’s talks between Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela when they proposed an accord to freeze oil output at January levels, said a statement from Sada, the current OPEC president.
He said 15 countries accounting for some 73 per cent of global oil output supported the initiative, including the world’s top exporter Saudi Arabia, and Russia.
Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said this week that the meeting will “probably” be held in April.
Oil prices, which have plummeted more than 60 per cent since mid-2014 partly because of oversupply, recently recovered slightly following talk of an output freeze.
But Novak’s comments put pressure on oil prices after he indicated Iran could be excluded from a freeze deal to allow it to increase its crude production after Western sanctions over its nuclear programme.
One of the world’s biggest producers, Iran, returned to the export market in January.
According to OPEC’s monthly report released on Monday, Iran pumped out 3.1 million barrels per day of crude in February, up from 2.9 million in January. It pumped 4.0 million bpd before sanctions were imposed.
Overall production by the 13-nation cartel fell by 175,000 barrels per day in February to an average of 32.28 million bpd, largely because of a steep drop in Iraqi output and smaller falls in Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates, the report said.
Oil prices rebounded on Wednesday as investors bought back into the black gold after a two-day sell-off. At around 0600 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in April was up 1.62 per cent, or 59 cents, to $36.93.
Brent for May was up 1.21 per cent, or 47 cents, at $39.21.