The globe's top oil producers are set to embark on what might be awkward meetings when high-level national officials convene this week in Vienna, Bloomberg reports.
For the first time in 21 years, ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will occupy different corners of a high-profile geopolitical dispute. Member nation Libya, the producer of Africa's largest crude reserves, and rebels are still engaged in fierce fighting. Member nations Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are supporting the anti-government forces. OPEC accounts for approximately 40 percent of the globe's oil supply.
"Amid issues surrounding representation of Libya and oil prices correcting towards $100 a barrel, OPEC is likely to sit on the fence, deferring a decision on quotas for later," Harry Tchilinguirian, the head of commodity-markets strategy at BNP Paribas in London, told Bloomberg earlier this month. "This does not mean individual countries may not take discretionary steps to increase output. OPEC has yet to fill the gap in the market left by Libya."
At 12:33 p.m. on Monday, crude oil futures slipped 0.55 percent, a 0.64 cent slide to $115.20 per barrel.
The U.S. confrontation of Iraq and its invasion of Kuwait was the last time such an issue threatened to create such a dynamic, which was in 1990.
The Wall Street Journal reports traders were eyeing policy discussions at the OPEC meetings, which begin on Wednesday.
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