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Saudis say to take big hit on oil output for OPEC deal

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Staff Writer | December 1, 2016
Khalid al-Falih
Oil exploration   The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said OPEC was close to clinching a deal to limit oil output, adding Riyadh was prepared to accept "a big hit" on its own production and agree to arch-rival Iran freezing output at pre-sanctions levels.

The comments could be seen as a compromise by Riyadh, which in recent weeks insisted that Iran fully participate in any cut.

Brent crude futures jumped by 7 percent, reaching nearly $50 a barrel. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries started a closed-door session at around 1000 GMT with a news conference scheduled for 1500 GMT.

Falih also said OPEC was focusing on reducing output to a ceiling of 32.5 million barrels per day, or cutting by more than 1 million bpd, and hoped Russia and other non-OPEC members would contribute a cut of another 0.6 million bpd.

"It will mean that we (Saudi) take a big cut and a big hit from our current production and from our forecast for 2017. So we will not do it unless we make sure that there is consensus and an agreement to meet all of the principles," Falih said.

But he added that even if OPEC failed to reach a deal, the market would slowly recover: "We believe that non-OPEC growth has reversed and also most of the OPEC growth we've seen is already behind us," he told reporters.


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