With oil prices hovering around $40 a barrel and plenty of it on the market, a meeting of OPEC ministers from 12 member nations in Vienna on Friday nevertheless was unlikely to cut supply. Saudi Arabia and Iran said they would keep their production levels even with low global prices, Bloomberg reported.
“We don’t expect OPEC to do anything,” Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said. "It seems that the global market will grow demand.”
Iran said it would increase oil sales following the lifting of sanctions that is expected to take place next year. This potentially could mean an additional 500,000 barrels on the market in early 2016. While Saudi Arabia said it did not think it was necessary to make production cuts.
At the beginning of the conference Friday, President Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said the oil industry was “in the midst of another challenging cycle,” the Associated Press reported.
There is a current oversupply of 1.5 million to 2 million barrels of oil on the market every day and this could potentially increase even further with Iranian sanctions set to be lifted, Iraq’s production increasing and Indonesia set to again become an OPEC member.
Venezuela, Ecuador and Algeria all have been hit hard by low oil prices and have pressured Saudi Arabia to scale back production as Brent crude dropped from a high of more than $100 a barrel over a year ago to around $42 a barrel. Non-OPEC member Russia has also been hit hard by the low oil prices. Prices are now at a six-year low. But Saudi Arabia can afford to keep production at the current level because of a cushion from past oil sales.
"Saudi Arabia and its closest Gulf allies have made clear ... that they intend to hold firm to their market share-first policy," said analysts from IHS Energy, a global economics and risk analysis firm, in a research note.
OPEC cut production quotas for its members a few years ago, leading individual states to make their own decisions on production levels, Reuters reported.