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OPEC agrees on modest oil production curbs

September 29, 2016 11:56 pm | Updated November 01, 2016 09:47 pm IST - ALGIERS:

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh attends the opening session of the 15th International Energy Forum Ministerial meeting in Algiers, Algeria, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. At meetings in Algeria this week, energy ministers from OPEC and other oil-producing countries are discussing whether to freeze production levels to boost global oil prices. (AP Photo/ Sidali Djarboub)

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh attends the opening session of the 15th International Energy Forum Ministerial meeting in Algiers, Algeria, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. At meetings in Algeria this week, energy ministers from OPEC and other oil-producing countries are discussing whether to freeze production levels to boost global oil prices. (AP Photo/ Sidali Djarboub)

OPEC agreed on modest oil output cuts in the first such deal since 2008, with the group's leader Saudi Arabia softening its stance on arch-rival Iran amid mounting pressure from low oil prices.

“OPEC made an exceptional decision today ... After two and a half years, OPEC reached consensus to manage the market,” said Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, who had repeatedly clashed with Saudi Arabia during previous meetings.

He and other ministers said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would reduce output to a range of 32.5-33.0 million barrels per day. OPEC estimates its current output at 33.24 million bpd.

“We have decided to decrease the production around 700,000 bpd,” Mr. Zanganeh said.

The move would effectively re-establish OPEC production ceilings abandoned a year ago.

However, how much each country will produce is to be decided at the next formal OPEC meeting in November, when an invitation to join cuts could also be extended to non-OPEC countries such as Russia.

Many traders said they were impressed OPEC had managed to reach a compromise but others said they wanted to see the details.

“This is the first OPEC deal in eight years! The cartel proved that it still matters even in the age of shale! This is the end of the ‘production war' and OPEC claims victory,” said Phil Flynn, senior energy analyst at Price Futures Group.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Tuesday that Iran, Nigeria and Libya would be allowed to produce “at maximum levels that make sense” as part of any output limits.

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