OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo

OPEC meets in Vienna: Oil prices over $54 per barrel

Crude oil prices have risen from $53 to over $54 per barrel, the highest this year, as a result speculation over the effectiveness of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting today

The survey of the global oil market by Vanguard yesterday showed that the prices of some crude oil grades have surged in the market. For instance, the price of Brent that is usually used to benchmark other prices rose from $53.50 to $54.19 per barrel yesterday. The prices of others, such as WTI and OPEC basket of 13 crude oil grades, rose from $50.78 and $51.50 to $51.43 and $51.34 respectively.

The OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente (Ecuador), Rabi Light (Gabon), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela).

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The Chairman of International Energy Services Limited, Dr Diran Fawibe said that presently price regime, Nigeria should not have much problem in funding its 2017 budget which was based on the reference price of $42.5 per barrel.

Already, the delegates of member nations, including Nigeria, Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Gabon, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, have arrived Vienna, Austria, for the crucial engagement.

A visit to the Secretariat yesterday showed that unofficial consultations have started, thus raising hope that there would be little or no disagreement when the official meeting, expected to consider whether to prolong the deal reached in December in which OPEC and 11 non-members agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day in the first half of 2017 opens on Thursday, this week.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, could not be reached for comments as his telephone was switched off. Consequently, it could not be confirmed if members of the cartel would likely include Nigeria in its oil production cut policy targeted at reducing supplies in order to stabilise the market.



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