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OPEC to Start Biannual Conference on Monday Amid Oil Market Uncertainty

© REUTERS / Heinz-Peter Bader/File PhotoA flag with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) logo is seen before a news conference at OPEC's headquarters in Vienna, Austria, December 10, 2016
A flag with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) logo is seen before a news conference at OPEC's headquarters in Vienna, Austria, December 10, 2016 - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will convene a biannual conference on Monday, which will be followed by the OPEC+ Ministerial Meeting on Tuesday, during which participants will decide the future size of oil production cuts amid market uncertainty.

Even though both OPEC and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have forecast that 2021 will see a surge in oil demand of some 6 million barrels a day (mbd), the second wave of the pandemic has led to the reintroduction of lockdown measures in Western countries, bringing down demand. But the downfall has proved to be not as severe as it was in April due to the prompt recovery of demand in Asia, mainly in China, India and Japan.

FILE PHOTO: the sun sets behind a crude oil pump jack on a drill pad in the Permian Basin in Loving County, Texas, U.S. November 24, 2019. Picture taken November 24, 2019 - Sputnik International
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Against the background of these externalities, the OPEC+ energy ministers face the daunting task of whether to prolong the current oil cuts of 7.7 mbd into 2021 or stick to the initial plan of easing the cuts to 5.8 mbd starting from January 1.

Sources told Sputnik that this weekend, the OPEC+ ministers have held informal talks in order to discuss the size of the oil cuts. The final decision, however, is expected to be made at a ministerial meeting on Tuesday.

At the same time, the OPEC+ alliance is reportedly facing some internal disagreements. Iraq, a historic underperformer with oil cuts, has almost reached its limit of accepting the OPEC's "one size fits all" model of oil cuts, according to Deputy Prime Minister Ali Allawi, who has called on the oil producers' alliance to take into account the member countries' economic and social conditions.

FILE PHOTO: An oil tanker is being loaded at Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia May 21, 2018 - Sputnik International
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Despite this, Baghdad has not requested an exemption from the production cuts, as it wants to keep oil prices afloat, media reports have indicated, citing Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Ismaael. Meanwhile, the UAE, a close ally of Saudi Arabia, is reportedly mulling a withdrawal from OPEC, as it has grown tired of the "unfair" allocation of production caps. However, Emirati Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei has reaffirmed the country's commitment to OPEC in response to the reports.

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