Oil-producing nations appeared to inch closer to an output agreement in Vienna on Wednesday, even as geopolitical tensions and competing interests threatened to fracture an alliance of crude exporters.
Energy ministers are gathering in the Austrian capital this week to determine the future of OPEC's 18-month-old agreement with Russia and other producers to limit oil output. The strategy has shrunk a global crude glut, but with oil prices recently hitting 3½-year highs, the producers are trying to reach consensus on easing the output caps to prevent the market from overheating.
Saudi Arabia and Russia, both of which have the ability to increase production, are pushing for a substantial output hike. Meanwhile, countries without spare capacity — including Iraq, Iran and Venezuela — began the week lobbying to keep the supply limits in place.