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OPEC+ meets with little prospect of pumping more oil

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: A person operates a tap of crude oil during the destruction of Bakana ii illegal camp in Okrika

By Maha El Dahan, Alex Lawler and Ahmad Ghaddar

LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC and OPEC+ began two days of meetings on Wednesday with sources saying a big policy change was unlikely this month.

At its last gathering in early June, OPEC+ decided to raise output each month by 648,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July and August, compared with a previous plan to add 432,000 bpd over three months.

OPEC+ consists of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies such as Russia.

Washington welcomed the producers' decision in June that followed months of pressure from the West on OPEC+ to raise production to help lower oil prices.

International prices hit their highest since the record levels of 2008 after the West imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine begun on Feb. 24, which Moscow calls "a special military operation".

They have eased since this year's March peaks, but rose for a fourth day on Wednesday to approach $120 a barrel because of tight supply and concern OPEC has little ability to raise output. [O/R]

French President Emmanuel Macron told U.S. President Joe Biden this week he had been told that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, considered the only OPEC members with significant spare capacity, can barely increase oil production.

Biden will travel to the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia next month, and is widely expected to press Riyadh to raise production.

At least five OPEC+ delegates said this week's meeting will focus on confirming August output policies and would not discuss September.

Two other delegates said the issue of production after August could emerge but it was unclear what steps could be taken.

The first of the meetings this week - attended by OPEC ministers only - discussed administrative issues and concluded on Wednesday without any major decision, delegates said.

On Thursday, OPEC+ ministers from the joint ministerial monitoring committee will begin discussions from 1100 GMT and then hold a full online OPEC+ meeting.

(Reporting by OPEC Newsroom; editing by Jason Neely, Louise Heavens and Barbara Lewis)

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