OPEC Keen to End Oil Glut

OPEC Keen to End Oil GlutOPEC Keen to End Oil Glut

The mood inside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is shifting from mistrust to a growing consensus that a decision must be reached on how to end the global oil price rout, according to Nigeria's oil minister.

"There's increased conversation going on. I think when we met in December ... they (OPEC members) were hardly talking to one another. Everyone was protecting their own positional logic," Emmanuel Ibe Kachiwku also told Reuters in an interview.

"Now I think you have cross-logic ... they are looking at what are the deficiencies, what is the optimum."

Struggling oil producers have made repeated calls for an emergency OPEC meeting, but Kachikwu said the timing had not been right. The group's next regular meeting is in June.

"We haven't been sure that if we held those (emergency) meetings that we could actually walk away with some consensus," Kachikwu said.

Oil prices have slumped by more than 70% over the past 18 months to near $30 a barrel as OPEC, led by top producer Saudi Arabia, sought to drive higher-cost producers out of the market by refusing to cut production despite a supply glut.

Kachikwu said he would meet his Qatari and Saudi counterparts next week to discuss the situation.

"Have we got to the point where we can say there is a definite strategy? In terms of production reduction or freezing, no, I don't think we have got there. But there is a lot of energy (behind the idea)," he said.

The price crash has crippled economies that depend heavily on oil sales for income, such as Nigeria and Venezuela, and even Saudi Arabia—the main culprit behind the oil price decline—is shoring up its resources to withstand the painful revenue drop.

The International Energy Agency said on Jan. 19 that oil markets could be oversupplied by as much as 1.5 million barrels per day in the first half of 2016 and warned that prices could decline further, as Iran's emergence from economic sanctions brings more crude to the market.