Uncertainty looms after dramatic changes in Saudi Energy Ministry

Current Saudi Oil Minister Introduces Cuts Along With Leap

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That's a sign of the uphill battle facing the group is engaged in, even as Iran's exports have been slashed by USA sanctions, Venezuela's output has slumped amid an economic crisis, and Saudi Arabia has had to cut three times deeper than initially planned just to keep prices supported at $60. -China trade dispute and Brexit could press the case for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russian Federation to maintain or adjust their policy of cutting output.

Prince Abdulaziz, who is the first prince from the ruling Al Saud family to lead the country's energy ministry, said he did not want to be "too presumptuous" by discussing what he thinks the group of major oil producers should do heading into Thursday's OPEC meeting.

To prepare for an initial public offering, Aramco replaced al-Falih as board chairman last week with finance-minded Yasir al-Rumayyan, distancing the company from the energy ministry. The surge in US shale production over the last five year has put Saudi Arabia and its allies on the back foot, forced to concede market share to shore up prices.

Iran will not negotiate with the United States while sanctions on Tehran are still enforced by Washington, Rouhani told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in a phone call on Wednesday, Iranian state media reported.

Prince Abdulaziz told reporters there would be "no radical" change in the oil policy of Saudi Arabia, which he said was based on strategic considerations such as reserves and energy consumption.

Oil prices slipped on Tuesday, offsetting narrow gains in the previous session, as sluggish demand forecasts countered expectations that major producers would prop up oil prices by limiting crude oil output. -China trade war is sapping oil demand.

A Saudi official said on Sunday that there would be no shift in Saudi and OPEC policy on the cuts and that Prince Abdulaziz would work to strengthen OPEC and non-OPEC cooperation.

"Although the outlook remains bleak, oil prices have remained anchored this week after a rapid response from Saudi Arabia, who is serious about stepping in to defend the oil price", Stephen Innes, managing partner at VM Markets Pte Ltd said in a note.

Saudi's estimated oil export earnings fell from more than $800 million per day in April 2014 to less than $300 million per day in February 2016 in the slump that followed the end of the first shale oil boom.

Dan Brouillette, a deputy U.S. energy secretary who attended Monday's event, said he hoped Saudi Arabia would instead choose to go with a so-called "123 Agreement" like the United Arab Emirates.

OPEC has pointed to rising global production next year.

Saudi Arabia has shouldered the bulk of OPEC+ production cuts, and is pumping about 500,000 barrels a day less than its agreed cap.

Prince bin Salman is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's older half-brother.

RRPCL is a joint venture between Saudi Aramco, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), and three state-run oil marketing companies (OMCs) - Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL).

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