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OPEC members are reportedly forming a consensus around extending their production cutting deal with other crude exporters by nine months, a move that would help to put a floor under oil prices.
That would prolong the agreement among OPEC, Russia and other oil-producing nations to keep 1.8 million barrels a day off the market through the whole of next year. The exporters reached the deal last December and have already extended the agreement once through March of 2018.
Sources told Reuters that OPEC may not agree to the extension at its next policy meeting in November. Instead, they may wait until early next year to make a final decision.
Oil prices strengthened following the report. International benchmark Brent crude futures were up 38 cents, or 0.7 percent, $58.26 per barrel by 10 a.m. EDT. U.S. crude for November delivery was up 31 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $52.19.
OPEC may put off the decision at its Nov. 30 meeting if demand for crude oil and petroleum products remains strong, a source told Reuters. OPEC and the International Energy Agency have recently reported that demand has improved, though the IEA raised concerns about future consumption growth in its latest report.
Three of the sources confirmed to Reuters that OPEC is leaning towards a nine-month extension, while a fourth said prolonging the deal by six to nine months would do the job of sopping up excess oil sitting in stockpiles.
OPEC is trying to drive down global crude stockpiles to the five-year average. The producer group reported last week that inventories among the OECD, a group of mostly wealthy nations, stood at just under 3 billion barrels in August, about 171 million barrels above the five-year average.
Two OPEC sources told Reuters that the group is not likely to deepen the cuts beyond 1.8 million barrels a day.
Traders could get clues about the path OPEC will take next month after OPEC's board of governors meets next week.