Saudi oil minister hints OPEC close to deal; Iran energy minister warns nothing finalized yet

Saudi Arabia's minister of energy told CNBC that he was relatively optimistic that OPEC could agree a deal to curtail oil production at a crucial meeting on Wednesday even though his Iranian counterpart was quick to stress that a deal has not been reached just yet.

Member countries of the oil-producing cartel are meeting in Vienna, Austria, Wednesday to discuss terms of a potential deal to cut oil production in an effort to prop up prices that have fallen by more than half since 2014 due to global oversupply. OPEC is hoping to secure a cut in its oil production from 33.8 million barrels a day (b/d) to between 32.5 million b/d and 33 million b/d.

"I hope that we will have a deal but we will not know until the end of the month," Khalid Al Falih, Saudi Arabian minister of energy, told CNBC ahead of the OPEC meeting on Wednesday.

"We're hoping for 600,000 (barrels per day to be cut) from non-OPEC (countries) so that is going to be a substantial volume that will bring health back into the market," he added.


However, Bijan Zangeneh, Iranian petroleum minister appeared more cautious in his tone than his Saudi Arabian counterpart.

"We haven't finalized the deal … We need time to discuss and finalize the deal between OPEC member countries but as I said I am optimistic that we are in a position to enable us to finalize this framework," he told CNBC in Vienna.

Oil prices had jumped more than 7 percent on Wednesday and came close to hitting $50 a barrel as Saudi Arabia's oil minister hinted that a deal among OPEC members was close.


An oil production cut to reduce global oversupply has not been put into action in almost a decade. However, following two consecutive years of low oil prices; the pressure on OPEC to act has intensified.

In September's Algeria meeting, the 14-member cartel outlined a deal which would restrict output and, if implemented in Vienna, should theoretically lift the economic pain of low oil prices on countries reliant on producing the commodity.

The balancing act for OPEC on Wednesday is to agree on individual production levels for each country whilst remaining vigilant to non-OPEC exporters looking to seize a greater share of the market.