Crude oil prices fell for the first time in a week as investors grow ever more sceptical about the success of potential talks among oil producers in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Brent was down at $48.58 today, while WTI crude was down at $46.13 per barrel on Wednesday but then rose to $49.23.
Oil prices had also previously risen to a one-month high overnight following news that Russia was planning to join the next OPEC meeting, leading to hopes of a collective cap on production.
Crude Oil Prices Fall with Low Hopes on OPEC Agreement
The progress in crude prices follows speculation that OPEC members may be discussing a production freeze in their meeting next month, after a rise of nearly 20% in only two weeks for the same reason.
The difference is traders have become more sceptical about the success of OPEC’s decision to potentially freeze crude production.
This is because the Group’s previous meeting in June failed to reach an agreement to limit production, which was followed by new record highs in its output.
Also, it follows indications from Iran that it may not take part in the OPEC talks next month, stirring speculation that the meeting will not lead to any concrete action to stabilise the market.
Iran Holds Decisive Vote for Crude Output
According to an Iranian press official cited by media sources, the country probably won’t reach pre-sanction levels by the time the talks take place (in the end of September).
Before the Western sanctions were implemented, Iran was producing between 4 and 4.2 million barrels per day (bpd).
As well as this, the official explained that there is no set date for when the country expects to reach that level of production and there is no certainty that Iran will even attend the OPEC meeting.
However, some traders are saying that Iran may not be the only country opposing production cuts as countries like Libya and Nigeria may also support the idea.