OPEC considers slashing oil production to boost falling prices

International Brent crude oil futures were up 40 cents or 0.7 percent at $62.09 per barrel

"A massive liquidation in long positions by money managers has dampened market confidence on oil prices considerably", said Benjamin Lu of Singaporean brokerage Phillip Futures.

The Saudi Arabian endorsement of moderate curbs comes amid reluctance of main ally Russian Federation to make substantial cuts, and pressure from the US President Donald Trump to push prices lower.

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), as well as the cartel's allies, are meeting at OPEC's headquarters in Vienna on Thursday. He said that they don't think that the United States will benefit from an over-supplied market for an extended period of time where investment flow stops and the fantastic growth in USA stale and is brought to a halt again just like in 2015-2016.

Saudi Arabia has been calling steep cuts in oil output and was expected to raise those demands during the meeting, but pressure from the USA may convince Saudi leaders to take a softer tone.

Mr Trump tweeted ahead of the Vienna meeting that "hopefully Opec will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted". An oil price around $60 suits the needs of producers and consumers and it should remain at that level in January, he said.

Al-Falih said a decision would take all day Friday.

According to Ardabili, "the five or six countries which have benefited from the situation should slash their output by 1.4 million to 1.8 million barrels per day at the minimum in order to return prices to an upward trajectory".

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OPEC, along with its non-OPEC allies led by Russian Federation, earlier this year decided on increasing their respective production levels, in a bid to cap crude oil prices and bring balance to the market. 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.

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

The EIA said the United States has been a net oil importer in weekly data going back to 1991 and monthly data starting in 1973.

"We must be excluded from any decision to cut production as long as illegal U.S. sanctions are not lifted", Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Wednesday evening as he arrived in Vienna. But they didn't discuss how big any cuts should be, he said.

Iran's Zangeneh said it was the first time a U.S. president was trying to tell OPEC what to do.

Possible output cuts by OPEC and its allies ranged from 0.5-1.5 million bpd, and 1 million bpd was acceptable, the Saudi energy minister said Thursday. The power of OPEC has been diminished, undercutting one of the major geopolitical forces of the last half century.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC's de facto leader, has made clear that it won't shoulder the burden of trimming production alone.

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