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Oil price could fall by US$10 if output freeze fails: DNB Markets

[OSLO] Crude oil prices could fall by US$10 per barrel, erasing recent gains, if OPEC and non-OPEC countries fail to finalise a plan to freeze output levels, Norwegian brokerage DNB Markets predicted on Thursday.

North Sea crude currently trades at just over US$40 per barrel, a rise of almost 50 per cent from a 12-year-low seen in January but still far below a mid-2014 peak of around US$115.

An Iraqi oil official told state newspaper Al-Sabah on Wednesday that the world's biggest oil exporters both in and outside the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) plan to meet in Moscow on March 20 to discuss an output freeze.

The report was later denied by Russia's energy ministry, which said no date or place had been set for a possible meeting. "If they can agree on a production freeze I think we have seen a bottom. If they fail, I think the oil price will drop US$10 per barrel again," DNB Markets analyst Torbjoern Kjus told an energy conference in Oslo.

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Opec members Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Venezuela, along with non-Opec exporter Russia, pledged earlier this year to leave supply at January's levels if others cooperated.

DNB Markets predicted last week that the price of North Sea Brent crude would reach US$45 in three months and US$55 in six months.