Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation seem to have agreed to export more oil to bolster the country's economy, to the detriment of fellow Opec members such as Iran, Venezuela who want higher oil prices.
Last year, OPEC members unanimously agreed on the oil price of 60 USA dollars per barrel, by cutting oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to 32.5 million bpd.
But it's Iran and Venezuela-founding OPEC members and those most affected by USA sanctions and unable to boost production-that are most vehemently opposing an increase in the cartel's production.
"In this meeting and the 7th Opec International Seminar, a unique assembly of Ministers, heads of intergovernmental organisations, chief executives of national and international oil companies, industry leaders, academics, energy experts and media, we will review the noteworthy progress that we are making", he stated. It would be a real increase in production from those countries with spare capacity including Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. But U.S. production has not reached the maximum rates in the past year and in the first half of this year.
In the run-up to meetings of Opec and its allies in Vienna this week, several nations have floated plans for production increases, but no consensus has emerged for what is likely to be a fractious meeting. And some Opec members want prices to go higher to help them meet their country's budgets.
"There is an element of self-preservation in seeking to do this, as while most oil producers prefer higher prices they will also want to avoid a scenario where prices reach a level where demand drops off sharply, thus triggering a global slowdown, as well as accelerating the push for renewable (energy)", he said.
Since OPEC operates on the principle of unanimity, analysts expect some sort of compromise agreement to be thrashed out by Saturday. Earlier in April, he had slammed the OPEC for keeping the prices "artificially very high". Saudi Arabia has been discussing different scenarios that would raise production by between 500,000 and 1 million barrels a day, according to people familiar with the matter.
World oil demand in 2018 is forecast to grow by 1.65 mb/d, broadly unchanged from previous month's assessment, to stand at 98.85 mb/d.
In an escalating spat over the American trade deficit with most of its major trading partners, including China, US President Donald Trump last week pushed ahead with hefty tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports, starting on July 6.
Iran is not alone in its battle against output hikes, with Iraq and Venezuela also objecting.
Earlier, Pradhan had said the reduced value of the Indian rupee in comparison to the USA dollar was causing a fuel price hike.
Tankers waiting to load more than 24 million barrels of crude, nearly as much as state producer PDVSA shipped in April, are sitting off the Opec member's main oil port.
China on Friday said it would retaliate by slapping duties on American export products, including crude oil. If US oil finds it hard to enter China, it would try to find a way to sell in India, the other main consumer.