Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia Pursue OPEC Deal at World Cup Meeting

Opec and its allies have been curbing supply since January 2017 to boost oil prices and cut bloated global inventories

Opec and its allies have been curbing supply since January 2017 to boost oil prices and cut bloated global inventories

But OPEC said on Tuesday the outlook for the oil market in the second-half of this year was highly uncertain and warned of downside risks to demand.

President Trump complained Wednesday that oil prices are too high and blamed the spike on OPEC, the group of 14 nations that controls a major portion of the world's supply of crude petroleum.

The world's largest oil exporters are negotiating how to rework their unprecedented, and successful, deal to control oil production as US sanctions on Iran and the collapse of the Venezuelan petroleum industry threaten to send crude skyrocketing.

"The Trump administration is trying to intervene in the affairs of a sovereign organization", Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, said in an interview.

OPEC and various non-OPEC oil producers are set to convene in Vienna later in the month to discuss future production. "You can not place sanctions on two OPEC founder members and still blame OPEC for oil price volatility", he said in a statement to Reuters, referring to itself and Venezuela.

In April, Trump also blasted OPEC on Twitter, accusing the group of "artificially" raising oil prices. The calculus changed, however, after Trump announced in May that the United States was pulling out of the 2015 deal that restricted Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the removal of sanctions.

Saudi Arabia has floated several plans to fellow OPEC members as the kingdom seeks consensus before the meeting in Vienna next week.

Oil prices have risen about 60 percent since past year after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other oil producers, including Russian Federation, began reducing output to cut excess supply, Reuters reported.

That's one reason the U.S.is putting diplomatic pressure on Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members to increase production, hopefully pushing down gasoline prices, before the US votes in midterm elections that could decide which party controls Congress. Prices nationwide have edged up toward $3 a gallon as the US hits its peak summer travel season, still less than the $4 a gallon during the 2007-2009 Great Recession.

Trump drew lots of tweeted responses, including one from oil hedge fund founder Pierre Andurand, who expects prices will be above US$150 a barrel in less than two years.

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