Updated Nov. 22, 2016 7:47 a.m. ET
VIENNA—OPEC officials said Tuesday they were close to agreement on the outlines of a production-cut deal, but warned there were sticking points to be resolved next week when the group formally meets in Vienna.
Notably, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is considering a deal that would last for six months rather than the previously discussed year, officials said.
“It is likely everybody will be on board by the end of the day,” said Ibrahim Waya, a member of Nigeria’s delegation to OPEC after a meeting at the cartel’s headquarters.
“Everybody knows that the stakes are high,” he said.
The 14-nation group that controls over one-third of global oil production is trying to nail down the details of a production-cut pact agreed to in September. This week’s meeting is making more progress than a gathering in October that ended in discord when OPEC members Iraq and Iran indicated they wouldn’t participate.
Tuesday’s more positive tone sent oil prices higher. Prices for Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose 1.66% to $49.70 a barrel in London, while U.S. light crude prices rose 1.45% to $48.94.
Nigeria’s Mr. Waya said the curb being discussed would be monitored by a committee and would start on January 1.
Areas of disagreement will likely be discussed at length at OPEC’s formal gathering on Nov. 30, with Iraq and Iran—the organization’s second- and third-largest producers—presenting hurdles to a deal, OPEC representatives said.
Both countries have disputed the production numbers that OPEC wants to use as a baseline for cuts. They want the ability to keep raising output—Iraq because it needs oil revenue to finance its fight against Islamic State militants and Iran because it wants to regain the market share it lost while under international sanctions.
Mr. Waya said Iran and Iraq appeared likely to reach a consensus. Country officials couldn’t be reached for immediate comment, but Iraq’s oil minister, Jabar al-Luaibi, said Sunday he would come up with proposals to resolve the differences. However, a Reuters report Tuesday cited Iraq’s foreign minister, Ibrahim al-Jaffari, as saying Baghdad still wanted to increase production.
OPEC has said it wants producers outside the group to join the curb. Mr. Waya said a weekend statement by Vladimir Putin, the president of non-OPEC country, Russia, showed Moscow was committed to do so.
Write to Benoit Faucon at email@example.com
Tags: China, energy, gas, global oil production, Ibrahim al-Jaffari, increase production, international sanctions, Iran, Jabar al-Luaibi, oil, oil prices, OPEC, OPEC Oil Deal, production cut, Putin, Russia, Saudi Arabia