Representatives from over 50 countries and 82 energy companies started an international energy forum in Algiers today.
The meeting is expected to discuss stabilising a volatile oil market and developing green energy.
The theme of 15th annual International Energy Forum (IEF 15) is “global energy transition: an enhanced role for energy dialogue.”
Four closed-door sessions are scheduled for Tuesday on the oil market, the liquefied gas market, renewable energies, and energy governance.
The informal meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will be held Wednesday on the sidelines of the IEF 15.
“I’m very optimistic that OPEC members would reach a consensual agreement to restore stability to the up-and-down oil market,” Algerian Energy Minister Noureddine Bouterfa told a press conference preceding the informal meeting of the OPEC in Algiers.
But the optimism was quickly shredded by Saudi Arabia and Iran, who dashed hopes that OPEC could clinch an output-limiting deal.
Sources within the exporter group said the differences between the Saudis and Tehran remained too wide.
“This is a consultative meeting … We will consult with everyone else, we will hear the views, we will hear the secretariat of OPEC and also hear from consumers,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said: “It is not the time for decision-making.”
Referring to the next formal OPEC meeting in Vienna on Nov. 30, he added: “We will try to reach agreement for November.”
Oil prices LCOc1 have more than halved from 2014 levels due to oversupply, prompting OPEC producers and rival Russia to seek a market rebalancing that would boost revenues from oil exports and help their crippled budgets.
The predominant idea since early 2016 among producers has been to agree to freeze output levels, although market watchers have said such a move would fail to reduce unwanted barrels.
Saudi Arabia had offered to reduce its output if Iran agreed to freeze production, a shift in Riyadh’s position as the kingdom had previously refused to discuss output cuts.