Image: iStock
Image: iStock

OPEC members and other oil-producing countries may not be able to agree on a reduction in output to help shore up plummeting prices, Saudi Arabia said on Thursday.

“No, I am not confident,” Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih told reporters after coming out of an OPEC meeting in Vienna.

He added, “We’re still debating the distribution” of any possible cuts.

Iraqi Oil Minister Thamir Abbas Al Ghadhban said deliberations would continue on Friday. However, he said: “We are hopeful that an agreement can be reached.”

The oil cartel had scrapped a planned news conference on Thursday at which the members had been expected to announce a new reduction in output to address the recent sharp drop in the price of crude.

OPEC’s 15 members had been meeting in the Austrian capital on Thursday to decide what action to take, a day after US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to urge them not to cut output.

“Hopefully OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted. The World does not want to see, or need, higher oil prices!” said Trump, who has repeatedly accused the cartel of keeping prices artificially high.

The group is scheduled to meet again on Friday, this time with other oil-producing countries that are outside the cartel – notably Russia – to coordinate a joint policy.

– with reporting by Agence France-Presse