Oil prices surge amid potential deal between OPEC, Russia

April 9 (UPI) -- After falling for weeks, oil prices surged on Thursday amid a potential deal between Middle Eastern nations and Russia to cut production in the coming months.

Saudi Arabia-led OPEC-Plus held a meeting that included Russian officials late Thursday morning, during which they discussed an agreement to reduce oil production by 20 million barrels per day.

The deal would last for three months starting in May, during which Saudi Arabia would cut production by 3 million barrels, Russia by 1.5 million and other OPEC nations by 5.5 million.

The price of Brent crude increased by more than 1.5 percent Thursday and West Texas Intermediate climbed by 12 percent.

"OPEC-Plus is trying mightily to cobble together a sizable production cut, and they are in full spin mode to try and rally prices," John Kilduff, of Again Capital, said. "The math on a 10 million barrel per day cutback, which is the minimum necessary to stabilize the situation, is almost impossible to compute."

Saudi Arabia and Russia for weeks have been unable to agree on cuts to production amid coronavirus pandemic, which has significantly reduced demand for oil.

The crisis led Riyadh to hike production, which depressed prices, in an effort to persuade Russia to reconsider its position.

Analysts fear that if both sides fail to reach a deal, the price of oil could fall below $20 per barrel.

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