OPEC, allies extend production cut through 2018

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VIENNA (AP) The oil ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cartel and a group of non-OPEC partners agreed on Thursday, Nov. 30, to extend crude output cuts until the end of 2018 in efforts to keep supplies tight and bolster prices.

The move reflected the success of their strategy of pumping less oil for more dollars.

Benchmark crude prices were close to $60 a barrel, up almost 20 percent since 2016, when OPEC and their non-OPEC partners agreed to reduce supply by 1.8 million barrels a day.

“It’s been a great day,” exclaimed Saudi Arabian oil minister Khalid Al-Falih, OPEC’s president.

The move had been expected after bitter rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran appeared to have agreed to it, too.

Traditional tensions between the two nations have led to disarray in the past and have spiked in recent months, with their struggle for Middle East dominance potentially exacerbating different positions on oil.

The Saudis favored continued cuts, but Iranians wanted greater market share over the longer term as it claws back from the effect of more than a decade or sanctions that were lifted as part of its 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers. Now pumping below 4 million barrels a day, Iran officials said it was in the country’s interest to add another 1 million barrels a day within three years.

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