Opec to tackle thorny oil deal with tentative production lift

High oil prices hurting fiscal balance, says Pradhan

Mr Zanganeh has said the president is to blame for high prices because of his unilateral withdrawal from the worldwide nuclear agreement and the imposition of fresh sanctions that could significantly curb Iran's crude exports.

Some OPEC members have been opposed to a production increase, and others don't want to go as far as Saudi Arabia.

Iran has edged away from a threat to veto any agreement that would raise output, while Saudi Arabia has put forward a plan that would add 600,000 barrels a day - about 0.5 percent of global supply - smaller than the 1.5 million increase Russian Federation proposed.

The brewing tensions between the world's two largest economies comes ahead of Friday's highly anticipated meeting of oil ministers from around the globe at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna.

Opec used the opening of the meeting to make it clear the group did not want to see prices sliding too much because of a rise in supplies.

The countries of the OPEC oil cartel will discuss increasing their production by about 1 million barrels a day at a meeting Friday that could influence the cost of energy globally in coming months.

Iran is understood to want a coded critique of the USA, which recently ended an global nuclear agreement with Iran, in the final Opec agreement on Friday.

Trump imposed fresh sanctions on Tehran in May and market watchers expect Iran's output to drop by a third by the end of 2018.

Saudi Arabia urges OPEC to help consumers by boosting oil supply as opposition from arch-rival Iran shows signs of wavering.

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Falih said the overwhelming majority of producers had recommended raising output by 1 million bpd, gradually and on a pro-rata basis.

"While we are not in favour of prices as low as $30 per barrel, we also do not support the prevailing high price which dent our fiscal balance and undermine our development process", Mr. Pradhan added.

US crude rose $3.04, or 4.6 percent, to $68.58 a barrel, after a surprise large decline of oil supplies at the storage hub at Cushing, Oklahoma.

The initial public offering of Saudi oil giant Aramco-which has already been likely pushed to 2019 from the second half of 2018-could be postponed even further, for after 2019, comments by Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih suggested on Thursday.

"It wasn't a good meeting", Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told reporters. "OPEC is not part of the Department of Energy of the United States". "A more relaxed policy will push Brent towards $70 a barrel, while restrictive measures will support crude oil back towards $80".

Earlier this week, Zanganeh left the door open for a deal, saying Opec members that had overdelivered on cuts in recent months should comply with agreed quotas.

"OPEC could keep the same deal with compliance going back to 100%", said an OPEC source who is aware of Iran's stance.

Falih also said the real increase would be smaller than the nominal gain of 1 million bpd, meaning a compromise with Iran remained possible.

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