VIENNA – The basket of crude oil used as a benchmark indicator by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries rose to $54.59, marking its highest value since July 15, 2015, the OPEC Secretariat said on Friday.
OPEC said the price of its basket increased by 0.98 percent on Thursday compared with the closing price at the previous session.
This came on the eve of a meeting in Vienna, scheduled for later on Friday, of the ministers responsible for ensuring compliance with the cut in production agreed upon in January to boost prices.
In this environment of rising prices, oil ministers were studying in Vienna the degree of compliance with the cuts strategy, which has been in place since January and is expected to be continued until March, and its effect on the market.
Oil producers from countries such as Russia, which is not a member of OPEC, are to discuss the issue with some of their counterparts from some of the organization’s partners, such as Venezuela, Algeria, Nigeria and Kuwait.
In addition, delegates from Saudi Arabia, which is the world’s largest exporter of black gold, and therefore the natural leader of OPEC, as well as Libya and Iraq are expected to attend.
The cut-off agreement stipulates that all 14 OPEC members should have cut their production by 1.2 million barrels of crude per day since Jan. 1, while other allied non-OPEC states should have cut around 800,000 barrels per day.
This strategy is set to be in force until March 31, 2018, although OPEC ministers are expected to discuss a possible extension in November in Vienna.
The value of OPEC crude has suffered many ups and downs since the agreement began in January, partly because of doubts about the extent to which the signatory countries were meeting their commitments.
However, OPEC’s crude barrel is now 24 percent more expensive than last November, when the agreement was reached.
In turn, the November delivery of Brent crude opened at $56.45 per barrel at the start of Friday’s trading on the futures market, a 0.35 percent increase since the previous session’s close.