OPEC and its allies, including Russia, are widely expected to approve a sizable cut in oil production in order to bolster prices when officials meet in Vienna on Wednesday.
Among those attending the meeting is Russia’s deputy prime minister, Alexander Novak, who has played a key role in fostering cooperation with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. The presence of Mr. Novak, who is subject to U.S. sanctions, could come as an embarrassment to European officials when their citizens face what could be a tough winter because of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Analysts say a very large cut on the order of two million barrels a day, or about 2 percent of world supplies, could be on the table.
The gathering of the group, known as OPEC Plus, is the first to be held in person since the early days of the pandemic. That signals an intention to make a strong statement to energy markets about the group’s cohesion during the fighting in Ukraine and its willingness to act quickly to defend prices, analysts say.
But the meeting also comes amid swirling political intentions and economic factors.
In the push for higher oil prices, the Kremlin may be using OPEC’s de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, whose ministers want future cooperation from Moscow on energy matters, to make it more costly for the West to take measures against Russia.
“To the extent that prices rise, it will make it that much more challenging for Europe to proceed with its sanctions on Russian oil in December,” said Bhushan Bahree, an executive director of S&P Global Commodity Insights.
A substantial cut in production would be a blow to the Biden administration, which has lobbied the Saudis to increase output. Saudi officials have expressed concern that oil demand could weaken because of a flagging world economy.
“They are looking for ways to surprise the market or deliver at least as much as the market is anticipating,” said Richard Bronze, the head of geopolitics at Energy Aspects, a research firm in London.
Expectations of a big move by the producing countries have in recent days helped lift futures prices of Brent crude, the international benchmark, to about $92 a barrel from about $83.
The group may also announce that it is extending the overall cooperation agreement among OPEC, Russia and other producing countries, which is set to expire in December.