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OPEC+ strikes last-minute deal to cut almost 10 mn barrels a day of oil production

OPEC+ strikes last-minute deal to cut almost 10 mn barrels a day of oil production
After four days of marathon talks, major global oil producers have finally inked an agreement to slash oil output by 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd), in a bid to boost the energy market amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other oil-producing states outside of the cartel, known as OPEC+, reached the deal to cut their output for May and June, Kuwait's Oil Minister Khaled Al-Fadhel announced on Twitter.

The cuts will protect oil producers from falling prices, triggered both by de-facto OPEC head Saudi Arabia flooding global markets with oil, and by falling demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.

OPEC and its allies had been trying to hammer out an accord since Thursday. While the first round of the virtual talks resulted in an agreement on the biggest supply cuts in history – 10 million barrels per day, amounting to around 10 percent of global supply – they ended without a resolution due to a disagreement with Mexico.

Mexico City refused to slash production by 400,000 bpd as requested, and abruptly abandoned Thursday’s emergency meeting. One day later, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador came up with a plan of his own, saying his country would reduce production by four times less than the cartel demanded, while an additional 250,000 bpd would be compensated for by the US. The final agreement will see Mexico cutting its output by 100,000 bpd.

Although all oil-generating countries were hit by the falling prices, including Saudi Arabia, the US – the world’s largest oil producer – was in considerable distress, with its shale oil industry facing the threat of closure. President Donald Trump has been throwing his political weight around over the last few weeks, even threatening Riyadh with tariffs.He praised the deal in a tweet on Sunday.

Countries outside OPEC+ are also expected to support the cuts, leading to an overall reduction of 20 million barrels a day, according to Al-Fadhel. Canada and Norway indicated that they are willing to slash their production, while the US said their output would fall with the prices.

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