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Saudi and Russia are at Loggerheads again, but OPEC Meeting Unlikely to Ruin Oil Party

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A group of some of the worlds most powerful oil producers will hold a crucial meeting on Thursday to discuss reversing some of the output cuts it made last year. OPEC and its nonOPEC partners, an energy alliance sometimes referred to as OPEC , will convene via videoconference in a bid to reach consensus over how to manage supply to the market. The group last year agreed to restrict the amount of oil it produces in an effort to prop up oil prices as strict public health measures coincided with an unprecedented fuel demand shock.

This weeks supply decision comes at a time when oil prices have rebounded to previrus levels, production in the U.S. has taken a hit from freezing storms and the coronavirus pandemic continues to cloud the outlook. OPECs de facto leader Saudi Arabia has publicly encouraged allied partners to remain extremely cautious on production policy, warning the group against complacency as it seeks to navigate the ongoing Covid19 crisis. NonOPEC leader Russia, meanwhile, has indicated it wants to push ahead with a supply increase. Analysts broadly expect OPEC to hike output from current levels, but questions remain over how much exactly and which countries will be affected.

OPEC initially agreed to cut oil production by a record of 9.7 million barrels per day last year, before easing cuts to 7.7 million and eventually 7.2 million from January. OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia has since taken on voluntary cuts of 1 million from the beginning of February through…

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