When the energy industry gathers in Houston Monday, the big topic will be whether oil prices are actually close to stabilizing after months of painful declines.
The 35th annual IHS CERAWeek conference comes just as the world's largest oil producers — Saudi Arabia and Russia — are talking about ways to support oil prices through a production freeze. While a cap on output will not reduce the world's oil glut, the idea has certainly helped lift crude prices off their lows, but WTI crude was still trading below $30 on Friday afternoon, down near-4 percent.
On Friday, Alexey Texler, Russia's first deputy energy minister, was quoted as saying that the world's excess oil supply could be halved if the freeze takes effect. Qatar and Venezuela joined Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC member Russia in the proposed agreement earlier this week.
The very individuals that could comment on this proposal will be attending the meeting: Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi and OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem El-Badri. El-Badri speaks Monday afternoon, and Naimi speaks Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. CT.