Oil prices surge as OPEC reaches deal to cut production by 1.2 million barrels
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has agreed to cut supply by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to 32.5 million barrels, the head of the organization announced.
Ahead of the official announcement, Bloomberg broke the news, quoting an unnamed delegate in Vienna. Crude prices soared more than 7 percent on the report.
As of 16:29 GMT, Brent crude was trading at nearly $50 per barrel, while US crude benchmark WTI was above $48.
Calling the decision "historic," the organization said the output cut would be in effect from January 1, 2017.
The deal was reached after weeks of negotiations, as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran fought for the very last barrel of production. This is the first coordinated cut from OPEC in eight years.
According to the new agreement, Saudi Arabia will reduce its production by 486,000 bpd, the official announced.
Ministers of Iraq and Kuwait said their countries would reduce supplies by 209,000 bpd and 130,000 bpd respectively.
Meanwhile, Indonesia has suspended its OPEC membership and is not taking part in the reduction.
The agreement also expects non-OPEC countries to cut about 600,000 bpd.
Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak welcomed the OPEC decision, saying Moscow would contribute its part if the organization keeps to its commitments.
“The voluntary restriction of production on the part of Russia is linked to the level of OPEC compliance with 32.5 million barrels a day, with adjustment for Indonesia, as well as the maximum participation of the countries who are not members of OPEC,” Novak said.
Russia, the biggest non-OPEC producer, was not participating in the Wednesday meeting, but also committed to cut oil production by 300,000 bpd, President of the OPEC Conference Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada announced.
In October, Russia pumped 11.2 million bpd, the highest volume since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
According to Bloomberg estimates, the deal allows Iran to increase production by 200,000 bpd from the current 3.7 million.
"The issue about Iran is how far can they get their production levels back to the 4 million barrels a day that they were producing pre-sanctions. They need to invest a great deal in their industry, which is why a lot of companies from Western Europe have been flying over to Iran, because they see a lot of good business there for them," Keith Boyfield, a research fellow at the Center for Policy Studies, told RT.
OPEC has been under increasing pressure to curb output for the first time since 2008. Growing global oversupply has more than halved crude prices over the last two years.
The production cut will be applied for six months, with a review scheduled for an OPEC meeting in May of next year.