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The low oil prices finally propelled the world's biggest oil exporters, led by Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia, into a year of shuttle diplomacy that saw 24 countries signing on to the supply cut agreement in December 2016 to remove 1.8 million barrels a day from the market. Despite the growth, the Saudi supply remains compliant with the deal.

Brent and WTI hit 3-1/2-year highs in May but have since drifted lower, indicating investors expect the market to soon become better supplied as USA crude production rises and as OPEC and its allies look poised to increase output.

"The Trump administration is trying to intervene in the affairs of a sovereign organization", Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, the most senior Iranian official attending OPEC meetings after the oil minister, said in an interview on Wednesday.

Crisis-wracked Venezuela's oil production continued to shrink, plunging for the 10th straight month to 1.36 million b/d.

The two countries share a common view that production should increase gradually, but the precise volume of oil that could be returned to the market and the timing of the boost will be discussed with other ministers next week, Novak said.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $66.24 a barrel, up 14 cents, or 0.2 percent.

Top exporter Saudi Arabia - which has so far led OPEC's efforts to withhold supplies - is also showing signs of raising production. Prices have risen around 60 percent over the previous year.

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While the world turns its eyes on the Vienna OPEC meeting, oil market watchers are also monitoring activity in Trump's home market, where higher prices are feeding more production of American shale oil.

However, OPEC's president, Suhail Al Mazrouei, said on Tuesday that the USA has not asked the group to increase oil production in the wake of political unrest in oil-rich Venezuela and US sanctions on Iran. OPEC members include Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

Saudi Arabia is mulling different scenarios to raise production over the coming months by between 500,000 barrels a day and 1 million barrels a day.

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and President Vladimir Putin are meeting in Moscow tomorrow to discuss oil policy on the sidelines of the opening match of the FIFA World Cup. "As has been the case for some years, China and India together will contribute almost 50 per cent of global oil demand", the agency had said in a report.

Trump drew lots of tweeted responses, including one from oil hedge fund founder Pierre Andurand, who expects prices will be above $150 a barrel in less than two years. The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) representing the 24 Opec and non-Opec producing countries participating in the voluntary production adjustments will next meet in Vienna on June 21.

Saudi Arabia has enjoyed diplomatic ties with the United States for decades, and may be facing strong pressure to temper oil prices as President Donald Trump targets Iran - the kingdom's political rival - with sanctions.


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