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Qatar upbeat ahead of crunch talks

Middle East Business

Doha: Qatar said yesterday there was an “atmosphere of optimism” that an agreement would be reached at this weekend’s crunch meeting of the world’s major oil producers in Doha.

The Qatari energy ministry, in a statement released through the official Qatar News Agency, said it was increasingly hopeful of a deal.

“With the number of countries that have confirmed their participation in the Sunday meeting of oil producers having increased, there is an atmosphere of optimism for the possibility of reaching an agreement that will bring back balance and stability to the oil market,” read the statement.

Sunday’s talks are highly anticipated, amid much speculation that a freeze in production will be announced by the leading oil producers.

Any such agreement in the Qatari capital to freeze production could, in theory, help reduce the global oil glut and boost prices.

But Saudi Arabia has insisted it will not join a freeze unless Iran, which is emerging from nuclear-related Western sanctions, also does so.

A Qatari statement at the end of last month said 12 countries had confirmed they would attend the high-level talks.

They included Opec members Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Venezuela, Kuwait, Algeria, Ecuador, Nigeria and Indonesia, plus non-members Russia, Oman and Bahrain. It is not confirmed if the other Opec members – Iran, Iraq, Libya and Angola – will attend.

The reference in yesterday’s statement to increased participation suggests more than 12 countries will be in Doha.

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