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OPEC to decide on oil export policy

The world's net oil exporters aren't expected to announce a production cut at their meeting in Vienna, despite a report yesterday that Saudi Arabia would propose one. But surprises can't be ruled out either.

Oil ministers from Angola and Iran have said they don't expect the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to adjust its current production ceiling of 30 million barrels per day (bpd).

Asked whether the cartel would stay its current course of flooding markets with low-priced oil to protect market shares, Angolan Oil Minister Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos said Friday: "I think so, I think so."

Reuters then reported that Iran's oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, had also said he didn't expect OPEC to agree to a change in policy.

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What’s in the pipeline at OPEC meeting?

But a formal decision won't be reached until later in the day and until then, nothing is 100 percent certain. On Thursday,

a report in the industry newsletter International Oil Daily

cited a senior OPEC delegate as saying Saudi Arabia would suggest rallying both OPEC and non-OPEC states to pump less oil in order to shore up energy prices.

Not only would that proposal have required big oil producers like Russia to play along, it would also have been contingent on Iran not ramping up production once international sanctions against it are lifted early next year.

But Tehran has said it will not refrain from getting its oil exports back to 4.3 million bpd within one year of sanctions ending.

cjc/uhe (Reuters, AFP)

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