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No Deal on Production Freeze at Oil Producers Meeting

by VOA News April 17, 2016

World oil producers failed to agree on a production freeze at a Sunday summit in Qatar, a move likely to send oil prices dropping when global markets open Monday morning.

Ministers from 18 OPEC and non-OPEC producers were looking for a deal to cap production at January levels at least through October. The idea is to stabilize prices, which have plummeted from more than $100 a barrel in 2014 to the current price of a little more than $40 a barrel.

These low prices have cost oil exporters billions of dollars in revenue and damaged some already fragile economies.

But the ministers say they need "more time" to make a decision.

Iran refused to send its oil minister to the Qatar talks, sending an emissary instead. The end of Western sanctions in exchange for signing the nuclear deal opens up the world to Iranian oil exports and badly needed income for Iran.

"We can't cooperate with them to freeze our own output and in other words, impose sanctions on ourselves," Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh told Iranian television.

Saudi Arabian officials said they cannot support any oil production freeze if arch-rival Iran also opposes it.

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