OPEC is on a two-day meeting in Vienna

OPEC is on a two-day meeting in ViennaThe Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is starting its two-day meeting of experts on Friday designed to hammer out the details of an eventual agreement on oil production freezes and/or cuts by member countries.

OPEC members were scheduled to meet on Friday with invited non-OPEC producers expected to join the group on Saturday to continue discussion.

OPEC sent an invitation to 12 non-cartel states including Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Oman, Egypt, Bahrain, Colombia, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Bolivia, Norway and Canada.

Russia, Kazakhstan and Mexico were reported to have confirmed attendance while Norway decided not to participate.

The two-day gathering was the result of a decision made by OPEC on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum held on September 28 in Algeria to set a production ceiling of 32.5-33 million barrels per day.

The September agreement was reached against the backdrop of decline in oil prices, which had fallen from around $110 a barrel to values below $50 since mid-2014.

The technical committee meeting in Vienna on Friday was expected to identify the production volume of individual OPEC member countries, while discussing participation with non-cartel states on Saturday.

Analysts have been skeptical not only about the possibility of an agreement being hammered out, but that individual countries would adhere to any imposed quotas.

Still, there were hopes that oil producers would be able to sign off on a deal as Saudi Arabia and its Gulf OPEC allies said they were already willing to cut 4% from their peak oil output, energy ministers from the Gulf countries told their Russian counterpart this week, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

In any case, OPEC secretary general Mohammed Barkindo also showed himself to be optimistic over an eventual deal.

On October 18, Barkindo stated that he expected "all building blocks of agreement to be in place" by the official OPEC meeting set for November 30 at which details on individual output quotas are expected to be finalized.
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