June 21, 2018 / 6:40 PM / 3 months ago

Ecuador sees tough OPEC meeting, smaller output boost

VIENNA (Reuters) - Ecuador’s oil minister said he expects Friday’s OPEC meeting to be difficult, citing disagreements on a possible increase in crude output and Iran’s demand that the gathering discuss U.S. sanctions.

The minister, Carlos Pérez, also said he did not expect OPEC and its partners to raise oil output by 1 million barrels per day - a figure mentioned by OPEC sources as a compromise - saying an increase of closer to 600,000 bpd was more likely.

“It’s going to be tough,” Pérez told Reuters on Thursday.

“OPEC is not the place to discuss political issues or bans, or things like that between governments. My point of view is, that should not be discussed - we’re more for technical or economic issues.”

Iran, facing U.S. sanctions on its oil industry and angry that U.S. President Donald Trump has asked OPEC to pump more oil, has said the producer group must include a sanctions debate in the agenda of Friday’s meeting.

“They (Iran) have requested that but I don’t think it will go anywhere,” Pérez said. “Political issues need to be discussed between the countries that are affected by those things.”

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia have since January last year been participating in a deal to cut output by 1.8 million bpd.

With a supply glut now eradicated, oil ministers from OPEC meet on Friday to discuss putting some of the withheld barrels back on the market, followed by talks with non-OPEC producers on Saturday.

A production rise of about 1 million bpd was emerging as a consensus, OPEC sources told Reuters on Thursday, adding that Iran could agree to that under certain conditions.

But Pérez said he expected the final amount to be less, and far below the 1.5 million bpd mentioned by Russia.

“It will probably be around 600,000 or so,” he said.

Editing by Dale Hudson

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