Trump asks Opec not to cut production

A pair of Calgary oil companies are cutting their dividends and reducing production because of current steep discounts on western Canadian oil prices

President Trump is pressuring OPEC to increase oil production as members of the organization are set to meet in Vienna on Thursday.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies continued to haggle over the size of potential crude-production cuts in Vienna on Wednesday.

The U.S. pledge to bring Iran's oil exports down to zero did not materialize, and the market was left oversupplied, with oil prices plunging some 30 percent from the four-year-highs reached in early October.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, December 5, urged OPEC members not to slash production at their upcoming meeting, saying global oil prices should remain low.

After the USA granted waivers to eight of Iran's key oil buyers to continue importing Iranian oil at reduced volumes at least until early May 2019, Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members, as well as their key partner in the non-OPEC group, Russia, are now considering a new cut and a U-turn from their pump-to-compensate-for-Iran policy that started in June.

In June, the Saudis opened the oil taps to offset losses from its Gulf rival, raising output by more than 1 million barrels a day since then to a record 11.02 million last month.

Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States have been vying for the position of top crude producer in recent years.

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Oil prices have fallen by nearly a third since October to around $62 per barrel after Saudi Arabia raised production to make up for the drop in Iranian exports.

Trump has repeatedly accused the oil cartel of keeping prices artificially high. Trump wrote in a tweet ahead of the group's meeting this week to discuss possible cuts.

Possibly complicating any OPEC decision is the crisis around the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. Trump said on Twitter.

"Trump is anxious about the Fed and inflation. They'd like to see lower gasoline prices at the pumps, because that's important for votes in the United States." . Official U.S. government oil production and inventory data are also due on Thursday.

"Bob McNally, president of US -based Rapidan Energy Group, said OPEC was stuck between a rock and a hard place given pressure from Trump on one hand and the need for higher revenues on the other".

"If Mr. Hook has come to Vienna to apply for U.S. membership in OPEC, and this is the reason why he meets OPEC members, the request can be reviewed", Zanganeh told SHANA. "It won't be called a cut but will effectively mean a cut, which will also be hard to quantify", McNally said.

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