Oil prices have risen to their highest in nearly a month, as expectations grow among traders and investors that OPEC will agree to cut production, but market watchers reckon a deal may pack less punch than Saudi Arabia and its partners want.
Brent crude has risen 6.5 percent in the last two weeks, hitting nearly $50 a barrel for the first time since late October, with Saudi Arabia embarking on a last-minute push for unanimous agreement to cut output when OPEC meets next week.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said in late September in Algiers that it would limit output to a range of 32.5-33.0 million barrels per day, compared with October output of 33.8 million bpd.
OPEC members seem to accept that Libya and Nigeria should be left out of any deal, as the two countries struggle to raise output curtailed by violence, but there are still a number of hitches the group must overcome.
Iran has said it would accept an output cap at 4.0-4.2 million bpd, compared with its current level of around 3.6-3.7 million bpd as it ramps up production after years of Western sanctions that were lifted in January.
Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, says it should be allowed to raise output to bring in revenues to fund its fight against Islamic State militants.
Russia, one of OPEC’s largest individual rivals, has said it sees no problem with freezing its oil production, which has hit post-Soviet highs above 11 million bpd this year.