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OPEC unlikely to change output policy this week -IEA head of oil

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By Noah Browning

LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) – Oil producers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are unlikely to agree to change their current deal on curbing output until the market outlook becomes clearer, a senior official at the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.

“OPEC is quite likely to do what it has often done in the past: put off taking a decision which involves changing the current system until things become clearer,” said Neil Atkinson, head of the Paris-based IEA’s oil industry and market division.

OPEC and allies led by Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+, meet in Vienna on Thursday and Friday to decide what to do about their current deal, which ends in March.

They are currently cutting output by 1.2 million barrels per day, or about 1.2% of global demand, in order to reduce oversupply and support prices.

“The Russians, we understand from press reports, are keen at least on the political level not to change anything immediately,” he told a conference organised by S&P Global Platts in London, stressing his comments were not a policy recommendation.

“There’s a lot of uncertainties out there, not least the U.S. shale outlook, strength in demand, the overall economic outlook, all the rest of it, that more likely than not they will leave it in place and meet again in March”, Atkinson said.

(Reporting by Noah Browning; editing by Susan Fenton and Jason Neely)


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