Oil ministers from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Wednesday defied the global scare of the deadly coronavirus to hold its crucial meeting in Vienna, Austria.
Since the breakout of the deadly disease, several groups and organisations have decided to either cancel or postpone their scheduled meetings till further notice.
For instance, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank on Tuesday announced the adjustment of their schedule for the annual Spring meetings billed for Washington DC from April 13.
Rather than the usual physical meetings attended by finance ministers of countries around the world, along with other leaders, civil society groups and journalists, the organisers opted for ‘virtual meetings format,’ following the ravaging spread of the deadly virus in the U.S.
Regardless, the 15-members OPEC defied the threat of the ravaging scourge to go ahead with their scheduled 178th (Extraordinary) Meeting of the OPEC Conference on Friday, March 6.
The inter-ministerial meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC Ministers is also slated for Sunday to take a decision to salvage the plunging global crude oil price.
Despite previous decisions to intervene by a commitment to cut about 2.1 million barrels per day of their combined production, crude oil prices have declined by over 20 per cent this year.
The OPEC basket of 14 crude oil blends stood at about $51.80 per barrel on Wednesday, compared with the previous $52.65 per barrel, according to OPEC Secretariat monitoring report.
The U.S. West Texas Intermediate fell 40 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to settle at $46.78 per barrel.
The latest price is already significantly below the crude oil benchmark price of $57 per barrel in the 2020 Federal budget.
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, is leading the Nigerian delegation to the crucial meeting where members are poised to take further decisions to cut their production and stabilise the plummeting market
The mere confirmation that the meetings would go ahead despite mounting anxiety over coronavirus shows how serious members of the group are to the effort to save the economies by rescuing the plummeting oil prices.
Three meetings are expected to be held over the period beginning with the 18th joint ministerial monitoring committee (JMMC) to review the impact of the previous output cut on oil prices.
The other meetings include the 178th (Extra-ordinary) OPEC Conference, which will consider the report of the JMMC, while the 8th OPEC-NON OPEC (OPEC+) meeting to take a decision on whether to maintain the current output, or further announce a cut to strengthen the market and stabilise prices.
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