LONDON (Reuters) – Friday's oil price fell below the $ 78 a barrel mark as OPEC and Russia considered easing supply constraints to eliminate Venezuela's disruption and an expected decline in Iran's exports.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview with Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al – Falih that the conditions for The world oil supply pact has been loosened for 17 months, Novak said Friday.
Energy ministers from Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates are discussing a rise in production of about 1 million barrels a day (bpd), Reuters said.
Speaking in St. Petersburg, Falih Reuters said that "all options are on the table" when asked about production cutback targets.
Brent Crude LCOc1 futures dropped 80 cents at $ 999 / barrel at 0914 GMT, having peaked at $ 80.50 this month since the end of 2014.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were $ 70.18 a barrel, down 53 cents.
"The discussion about a possible easing of the production restrictions should exclude a renewed price increase," said Commerzbank analysts.
"The $ 80 mark is likely to be an obstacle that is difficult to overcome because it would greatly increase the likelihood of increasing production."
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a group of non-OPEC producers, led by Russia, began in 2017 to curb production to streamline the market and support prices.
Global crude shipments have declined sharply over the past year as a result of OPEC's cuts, which have been compounded by a sharp decline in Venezuelan production.
The prospect of renewed sanctions on Iran after US President Donald Trump withdrew from an international nuclear deal with Tehran has also pushed prices higher in recent weeks.
Compliance with the agreement to reduce production by 1.8 million barrels per day by the end of 2018 was 152 percent.
Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects consulting firm, said, "In a tight market and low inventories, over-compliance was always likely to be discussed."  HIGHER PRICES AT COST
While Russia and OPEC are benefiting from higher oil prices, which have risen nearly 20 percent since the end of last year, their voluntary cuts in production have opened the door for other producers to ramp up production and gain market share.
U.S. Crude oil production C-OUT-T-EIA has grown more than a quarter to 10.73 million bpd in the last two years. Only Russia produces more, about 11 million barrels a day.
The production of countries such as the United States, Canada and Brazil, which are not tied to the OPEC / Russia-led pact, is likely to continue to rise as crude oil prices rise.
Additional coverage by Henning Gloystein and Roslan Khasawneh; Editing by David Goodman