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>> The world's leading oil producing nations are happy prices are back above $50 a barrel, and they want to make sure they stay that way. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, better known as OPEC, set to meet Thursday. And all signs point to an extension of a historic decision to cut oil production.
Reuters correspondent Ernie Scheyder is in Vienna, ahead of the official talks.>> Of OPEC's 13 members, it's Saudi Arabia that OPEC watchers will be looking at closely. Saudi Arabia is the defacto leader of OPEC, and last week Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed on a nine month extension of the supply cut deal.
It remains to be seen if the other members of OPEC go along with that. Although, many have told us in entrances to hotels like this and others around Vienna, that they probably will go along with that deal.>> The deal would maintain a production cut of about 1.8 million barrels a day, in order to keep a floor under prices.
That's something they desperately want to see, after watching the supply gluts and oil prices plunging to as low as $26 from way above $100. A drop that crippled producers, threatening political stability, forcing oil rich governments to dig into cash reserves to prevent civil backlash. But even if there's an extension, maintaining the cut in global output still faces a major road block, the USA.
>> What is clear is that OPEC is feeling a lot of pressure from American Shale producers. American Shale has been pumping with abandon since January, as oil prices have risen and as technology has helped them pump more.>> And with the Trump administration looking to pump out even more oil in an attempt to increase hiring, analysts question if OPEC can push prices that much higher.
Especially with the US ready to meet every OPEC cut with a boost.