OPEC members and their ally Russia will convene a technical meeting this week to analyse oil price falls since the outbreak of a coronavirus epidemic, a source close to the cartel said on Sunday.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will assemble experts in a “joint technical committee’ in Vienna on Tuesday and Wednesday, the source told AFP.
Crude prices have suffered since the virus outbreak as worries about its impact on China’s economic growth have taken hold.
China is the world’s second-biggest economy and a huge consumer of crude.
US benchmark oil contract WTI has fallen by around 18 per cent over the past month.
Top oil exporter and OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia said this week that the impact of the virus on oil demand was “extremely limited” but that the kingdom was closely following events.
A big part of the impact of global markets was “driven by psychological factors” and “pessimistic views”, Saudi said.
Russian energy minister Alexander Novak, seemed less sanguine, however, saying on Friday that the virus crisis could lead to lower demand for hydrocarbon fuels.
The 13-member OPEC cartel regularly sits down with 10 non-members led by Russia to decide on measures to influence the oil price.
OPEC and its allies in December extended an existing agreement to curb crude oil production to keep prices from plunging.