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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

OPEC Set To Agree On Output Increase

VIENNA, Austria -- OPEC oil producers were set to approve a deal Tuesday to raise output limits and satisfy the demands of the United States for lower prices.

Venezuelan Oil Minister Ali Rodriguez said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries had reached an agreement on how far to turn up the taps to replenish inventories depleted by a year of strict supply curbs.

"I believe we have an agreement, yes," he said.

Rodriguez declined to elaborate on the details of the pact as ministers gathered at OPEC headquarters. They were expected formally to approve the pact.

Cartel kingpin Saudi Arabia had pressed for two days for an extra 1.7 million barrels per day, enough to raise OPEC limits by just over 7 percent.

Delegates said they thought it likely Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi had secured that deal.

Naimi told reporters he was not prepared to change his position to meet the preference of Middle East rival Iran for a smaller increase. "No," he said.

Entering Tuesday's formal meeting, Naimi declined to comment, but smiled broadly and raised both thumbs.

OPEC's incremental oil will come on top of official limits for 10 OPEC nations of 22.976 million bpd agreed last March.

Iran, angry at what it sees as interference from Washington, had wanted to limit extra OPEC oil to 1.2 million bpd, or only 5 percent.

But Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said as he departed for a session of all ministers that the group "would make an agreement."

Saudi is eager to secure a deal big enough to ease crude prices into the $25- to $27-per-barrel range that satisfies its ally in the West, the United States. Oil on U.S. markets was priced at $27.80 Tuesday.