[LONDON] Opec officials will meet with representatives from oil producers outside the group to discuss the global market in May, a few weeks before the organization's ministerial meeting, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Technical experts from Russia, Mexico and Oman will confer with counterparts from the OrganiSation of Petroleum Exporting Countries' 12 members at the group's secretariat in Vienna on May 12 to 13, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The conference was suggested by member nation Venezuela, they said, which has urged OPEC to revive prices by cutting output.
Oil prices lost about 40 per cent in the weeks after Opec resolved on Nov 27 to maintain output in the face of surging US shale supplies. Before that gathering, Venezuela had organised talks to arrange joint action between Saudi Arabia, Russia and Mexico, which ended without success. Russia will meet again with Opec before the group's June 5 conference, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Tuesday.
"Opec and non-Opec keep meeting and talking and informing everybody about it, without any material result," said Eugen Weinberg, Frankfurt-based head of commodities research at Commerzbank AG. "These meetings tend to be much ado about nothing."
Saudi Arabia could be open to discussing a multilateral deal to cut production over the next six weeks, particularly if Russia takes part, Paul Horsnell, global head of commodities research at Standard Chartered Plc in London, said in a report Monday.
The May conference will convene advisers from the various nations, rather than the countries' ministers, the people said. The chances of Opec agreeing to a joint production cut with non- members is limited, following the failure to reach such an accord at the last meeting, according to Commerzbank.