OPEC output decision delayed until Russian Federation talks

International Brent crude oil futures were down 56 cents or 0.9 percent at $61.52 per barrel

OPEC members are meeting to agree on their response to recent declines in oil prices, with analysts predicting a cut in production of at least 1 million barrels per day.

The price of oil has fallen about 25 percent because major producers - including the USA - are pumping oil at high rates.

OPEC began capping supply in partnership with Russian Federation and several other nations previous year in order to end a punishing downturn in oil prices.

Negotiations between OPEC members are fraught, however, as some feel that Saudi Arabia wields too much clout in setting policy.

"While the large crude oil inventory drop was notable, the surge in exports of crude oil to over 3 million barrels per day was remarkable", said John Kilduff, partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital LLC in NY.

The group is scheduled to meet again on Friday, this time with other oil-producing countries that are outside the cartel - notably Russian Federation - to coordinate a joint policy.

"Some countries will struggle because their economies are very constrained" and Nigeria itself could only manage a small cut, Nigeria's oil minister, Emmanuel Kachikwu, said in a Bloomberg television interview on Thursday morning.

"However, depending on the financial markets, the recovery will likely be measured initially and more closely aligned with cash flow, with the activity surge we experienced in the first half of 2018 unlikely to repeat", Schlumberger Executive Vice President, Wells, Patrick Schorn said at an energy conference in NY on Wednesday.

The fall in the price of oil will help many consumers as well as energy-hungry businesses, particularly at a time when global growth is slowing.

Trump, Xi trade war dinner went 'very well' - White House advisor
This saw China retaliate with 10 percent tariffs on $60 billion (£46 billion) of U.S. imports. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that China had agreed to cut import levies on American-made cars.

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

And Trump has been putting pressure publicly on OPEC to not cut production.

"They want OPEC to make a cut, and they kind of want Donald Trump to stop tweeting about oil". Responding to a journalist's question during an interaction where he was asked about the reduced crude oil prices and on the United States President Donald Trump's tweet in which he had said that the world does not want to see higher fuel prices, the Saudi Oil Minister said that President Trump is the head of a country which is the largest consumer of oil, approximately about 20% of the global market, but the consumer in the U.S. is just like the consumer in France, India or Saudi Arabia who have every right to get affordable access to fuel. The kingdom is under economic pressure after a collapse in oil prices last month, yet it's seeking to walk a fine line between preventing a surplus next year and appeasing President Donald Trump.

Given the economic sanctions being reimposed by the United States, the Islamic republic " doesn't join any agreement for cutting production because of the special situation Iran faces", oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said.

Some experts say that gives the USA some leverage over the Saudis, though Al-Falih denied that on Thursday.

Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih dismissed that, telling reporters Thursday: "I don't need permission from any foreign governments".

Thamir Ghadhban said as ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries gathered Thursday that "the severe slide in the price in the last two months is not in the interest of all the OPEC members, and even non-OPEC members". How strongly it does so could depend on Russia's contribution.

Oil producers appeared to be coalescing around a plan to remove 1.3 million barrels per day from the market earlier in the week. It comes just three years after the United States ended a four-decade moratorium on exports of its crude oil. By some estimates, the USA this year became the world's top crude producer.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC's de facto leader, has made clear that it won't shoulder the burden of trimming production alone. One of the key questions in Thursday's talks is whether to exempt Iran from having to cut production, as its energy industry is already hobbled by USA sanctions on its crude exports. Qatar Announces Withdrawal from OPEC group Effective January 2019.

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