Saudis Offer Oil Cut if Iran Freezes Output

OPEC members and Russia will meet in Algiers on Sept. 26-28.OPEC members and Russia will meet in Algiers on Sept. 26-28.

Saudi Arabia has offered to reduce oil production if rival Iran agrees to cap its own output this year, in a major compromise ahead of talks in Algeria next week, three sources familiar with the discussions said.

The offer, which has yet to be accepted or rejected by Tehran, was made this month, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Riyadh is ready to cut output to levels seen early this year in exchange for Iran freezing production at the current level, which is 3.6 million barrels per day, the sources said.

"They (the Saudis) are ready for a cut but Iran has to agree to freeze," one source said. Two more sources confirmed the offer was presented to Tehran.

The first source did not say by how much Riyadh would cut if Iran agreed to freeze at 3.6 million bpd, which has been the country’s output for the past three months.

Riyadh's production has spiked since June due to summer demand, reaching a record high in July of 10.67 million bpd and edging down to 10.63 million bpd in August.

From January to May, Saudi Arabia produced around 10.2 million bpd.

Two sources said Saudi Arabia's Persian Gulf OPEC allies the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait were expected to contribute to any reduction if an agreement were reached.

Saudi Arabia, by far the largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, will shoulder the biggest cut, the sources said.

The proposal can be seen as a shift by Riyadh, which orchestrated the current OPEC policy in 2014 by refusing to cut output alone to support prices and chose to defend market share against rivals, particularly high-cost producers.

The previous attempt at a global production pact collapsed in April when Riyadh insisted on Tehran participation. Iran has said it will not join any such agreement until it regains its rightful market share and boosts output to pre-sanctions levels of around 4 million bpd.