Oil producers likely to extend output cut deal till end 2018

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC oil producers are expected to agree at a meeting today to extend an output-cutting deal until the end of 2018.

The producers' current deal, under which they are cutting supply by about 1.8 million barrels per day in an effort to boost oil prices, expires in March.

"They will agree on the nine months," an OPEC delegate told Reuters, adding that the meeting, due to start around 0900 GMT, was expected to be smooth.

A second told the news agency, "No surprises ... all are for nine months." Two other sources made similar remarks.

The 14-member OPEC and Russia were reported last week to have crafted the outline of a deal to extend their production cuts (See: Oil rises above $52 a barrel as Saudi, Russia agree to extend output cuts).

According to Reuters, they have now signalled that they may review any extension of the deal when they meet again in June if the market overheats.

With oil prices rallying above $60 per barrel, some are concerned that such an extension could prompt a spike in crude production in the United States, which is not participating in the deal.

Russia needs much lower oil prices to balance its budget than OPEC's leader Saudi Arabia, which is preparing a stock market listing for national energy firm Aramco next year and would hence benefit from costlier crude.

Six ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers Saudi Arabia and Russia met in Vienna on Wednesday and recommended extending the cuts to the end of 2018.