OPEC agrees to deal to cut oil output, despite Trump pressure

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Crude oil prices sank on Thursday after a closely watched OPEC meeting in Vienna ended with no guarantee from major producers like Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation to cut output, according to Saudi's energy minister.

"OPEC is an independent organization, not a part of the US Department of Energy to take orders from Washington", said Zanganeh, who has left Tehran for Vienna to attend the OPEC summit on Thursday and Friday.

The producer group's de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, has indicated a need for steep reductions in output from January but has come under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to push oil prices lower.

Brian Hook, the senior USA official overseeing sanctions against Iran, met with Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Wednesday morning in the Austrian capital, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), as well as the cartel's allies, are meeting at OPEC's headquarters in Vienna on Thursday. Russia's oil giant Lukoil said it's ready to cut production if the upcoming meeting results in a deal to prop up prices, the company's CEO Vagit Alekperov told reporters, according to TASS news agency.

Oil prices have crashed by nearly a third since October to around $60 per barrel as Saudi Arabia, Russia and the UAE have raised output since June after Trump called for higher production to compensate for lower Iranian exports.

Moscow has shown willingness to cooperate with OPEC to cut oil production.

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"While we believe that President Trump will be reluctant to escalate the situation, the Saudis are likely to choose the wording of any statement with regards to cuts very carefully", ING told AFP.

Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States have been vying for the position of top crude producer in recent years.

"Hopefully OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted", he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

However, when oil producers realized the sanctions fell far short of what had been expected, fears of oversupply followed.

Trump has repeatedly accused the oil cartel of keeping prices artificially high.

Possibly complicating any Opec decision is the crisis around the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

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