OPEC Economic Panel Recommends Output Cut

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Venezuela’s Refinery El Palito refinery; OPEC members, including Venezuela, are meeting Dec. 6 and Dec. 7 in Vienna to debate cutting as much as 1.4 million barrels a day from their collective output

Venezuela’s Refinery El Palito refinery; OPEC members, including Venezuela, are meeting Dec. 6 and Dec. 7 in Vienna to debate cutting as much as 1.4 million barrels a day from their collective output


Photo:

Juan Carlos Hernandez/Zuma Press

An Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries panel reviewing scenarios for the cartel’s meeting next week recommended cutting total output by 1.3 million barrels a day from October levels, officials familiar with the matter said Friday.

“According to the data we have, 1.3 million barrel a day cut would be efficient to balance the market,” said one OPEC official who attended the meeting of the Economic Commission Board, which does not set policy for the cartel.

“The question is how to implement this and who is on board,” he said.

OPEC and its Russia-led allies are meeting Dec. 6 and Dec. 7 in Vienna to debate cutting as much as 1.4 million barrels a day from their collective output, after oil prices have lost a third of their value in less than two months.

Saudi Arabia, which since the summer had been ramping up output to cool markets, would be in a position to carry the bulk of these cuts since it increased output by 1 million barrels a day in just a few months.

Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih is lobbying others in OPEC, as well as Russia, to join the production cuts. He is warning privately that oil prices will fall further in early 2019 if no action is taken, according to people familiar with his efforts.

Mr. Falih also insists the kingdom won’t move to reduce output on its own.

Earlier in November, OPEC said in its monthly report that demand for its crude is seen at 31.5 million barrels, or 1.36 million barrels a day lower than its October output.

Write to Summer Said at summer.said@wsj.com