Economy

USA becomes net oil exporter as imports hit record low

USA becomes net oil exporter as imports hit record low

"The World does not want to see, or need, higher oil prices!" said Trump, who has repeatedly accused the cartel of keeping prices artificially high.

OPEC agreed in principle to cut production during a meeting at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria on Thursday, two sources told Reuters.

A day of talks in the Austrian capital on Wednesday concluded with a panel led by Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation - the group's most powerful members - recommending an output reduction lasting six months, Oman's Oil Minister Mohammed Al Rumhy told reporters.

"We in the kingdom are going to be advocating something adequate to balance the market", Saudi energy minister Khalid Al Falih said at the opening of the meeting of the exporters' group in Vienna on Thursday.

Oil fell on Wednesday as a swelling supply glut and signs of an economic slowdown weighed on crude prices a day ahead of an OPEC meeting at which the producer club is expected to decide supply cuts.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged OPEC to continue pumping at current levels in order to drive fuel prices even lower.

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U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at 52.38 dollars per barrel, down 51 cents, or 1 per cent.

Mr al-Falih, said today: "We hope to conclude something by the end of the day tomorrow".

The wait for Moscow signals how much OPEC has changed since 2016 when Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation ended their historic animosity and started to manage the oil market together. "We just have to see how it will be distributed", another delegate said.

The coordinated move, which has since been extended, stimulated a long rally in oil prices right up until October 2018.

According to the International Energy Agency, OPEC daily output stood at 32.99 million barrels in October.

Iran has said it is carefully monitoring the next steps by some OPEC members and their allies which have "arbitrarily" ramped up oil production, leading to a crash in prices. The worldwide benchmark, Brent, was down $2.20 at $59.36 a barrel on a day when stock markets also fell sharply around the world.

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The increase alone is equivalent to the output of major OPEC producer United Arab Emirates.

Oil prices were pressured by a weekly report from the American Petroleum Institute (API) that said U.S. crude inventories rose by 5.4 million barrels in the week to November 30, to 448 million barrels, in a sign that U.S. oil markets are in a growing glut.

Additionally, U.S. President Donald Trump has been putting pressure publicly on OPEC not to cut production. But just like the USA is pursuing its own interests, one can not expect Saudi to do anything different - even despite the controversy surrounding the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul at the Saudi embassy.

Most OPEC members felt the same way, but "some members are going along with United States policy", he said.

OPEC is also riven by internal conflict, especially between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran. By some estimates, the USA this year became the world's top crude producer.

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