• Emergency meeting could help stabilise oil prices
  • Next scheduled meeting is not due until 4 December
  • Saudi Arabia unlikely to agree to an emergency meeting

Iran has said that an emergency meeting among the 12-member oil producers group Opec may help stabilise oil prices.

The price WTI crude oil in the US had slipped to below $40 a barrel over the weekend while Brent crude hit $44.47 a barrel. The continued price decline has been attributed largely to oversupply in the US and weak growth in Chinese demand.

The next scheduled Opec meeting, however, is not due until 4 December.

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Iran endorses an emergency Opec meeting, according to local news agency Shana. Fellow Opec member Algeria has said earlier in Auguest that the organisation could hold an emergency meeting to discuss the drop in oil prices.

While a simple majority of Opec members is all that is required to call an emergency meeting, it is understood a meeting is unlikely unless Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, is in favour of holding one.

Saudi Arabia and the other GCC states drove Opec’s strategy to defend market share rather than cut output to support prices. Having built vast reserves over the years when oil prices were at historic highs, the GCC states are better able to cope with lower oil prices than Iran, Venezuela and the African Opec members.

So far, there are no visible signs that the kingdom could be changing its stance towards the current policy of maintaining production.

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