March 12, 2020 / 3:06 PM / 23 days ago

OPEC+ March 18 technical meeting unlikely to go ahead -sources

DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) - An OPEC and non-OPEC technical panel meeting planned for March 18 in Vienna is unlikely to go ahead, three sources with knowledge of the matter said, a development suggesting no agreement yet on further steps to support the market.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) sits outside its headquarters ahead of the OPEC and NON-OPEC meeting, Austria December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foege/File Photo

A deal to reduce oil output by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, a group known as OPEC+ that pumps over 40% of the world’s oil, expires at the end of this month.

The panel, called the Joint Technical Committee, advises OPEC+ oil ministers.

Oil has fallen 38% to $31 a barrel since a ministerial meeting on Friday collapsed without a deal to deepen or extend supply cuts.

“The meeting is likely to be postponed,” one of the sources said, referring to the March 18 panel.

Saudi Arabia would not attend the JTC meeting and it was unlikely to take part even via teleconference, one source said.

Three years of cooperation between OPEC, Russia and other producers ended in acrimony on Friday after Moscow refused to support deeper cuts to cope with the outbreak of coronavirus. OPEC responded by removing all limits on its own production.

No new ministerial meeting is planned for now. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said on Tuesday he did not see a need to hold one if there was no agreement on what steps to take.

“I fail to see the wisdom for holding meetings in May-June that would only demonstrate our failure in attending to what we should have done in a crisis like this and taking the necessary measures,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told Reuters on March 10.

Russia has said it wants to keep open dialogue with allies. Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that the JTC meeting was likely to be held via video conference.

Editing by Jason Neely

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