Any successful deal hinges on two factors: agreed production adjustments, on the one hand, and a verification scheme which insures compliance with agreed supply cuts, on the other. Compliance could be addressed in a number of ways. For example, the participants could report just as do International Energy Agency member countries like the U.S., Japan and Germany. This would involve disclosing oil production, stocks and exports monthly within two weeks of period close, with the IEA advising on reporting systems and monitoring compliance.
While intrusive for Russia and OPEC, such an innovation could prove of critical importance. In truth, we do not know the size of emerging economy (non-OECD) oil stocks or consumption with any accuracy. The IEA reports some 500 million "missing barrels" in the last five quarters. If these barrels are excess supply, then large production cuts are needed. If it turns out that the missing barrels were actually consumed by the emerging economies, then the required production cuts per country might be quite modest. If Russia and the Gulf states reported as do the OECD countries, then this uncertainty would be greatly reduced, and the ease of reaching a deal could be much greater. Indeed, oil prices could surge on data clarification alone.