The oil price has climbed to about $63 a barrel. That's its highest level in two years. And it's thanks to the tailwind from the production cut agreed by Opec and other big oil producers such as Russia 12 months ago. Our currencies correspondent Roger Blitz joins me now. Roger, Opec is meeting in Vienna this week. What can we expect from the meeting?
We should expect an extension of this deal which was hammered out a year ago between Opec, and Russia, and other countries, to cut oil production by 1.8 million barrels a day. It's too much to expect too much disturbance to that. Otherwise, we could see the oil price go down. It's at the moment $63 a barrel. And I think the expectation of the market is that some kind of a deal is going to be extended. The question is, will it be for the whole of 2018, or will Russia seek to cut it back to, say, September?
Yes, you mentioned Russia. How does Russia fit into all of this? They're not as dependent on the higher oil prices, are they, as, say, the Saudis.
No. And they're worried that the court is allowing other producers to come into the market, and that Russia will lose market share. So for them, the oil price is not such a significant thing. Market share is. And they are, if you like it, the slightly more difficult end of this deal with Opec. So there's going to be a little bit of tension there. And Putin, I think, will probably try and extract some kind of a chip out of this Vienna meeting.
So would you say there's a lot of work to be done between Russia and the Opec countries before we can assume that it's a done deal?
Yeah, I think so. And I think you'll see other countries, African countries wanting to push up the oil price higher. So there's this push and pull going on both sides. I suspect there will be more nervousness about anything that spooks the market to send the oil price lower. That isn't so bad for Russia, but it will be very bad for other countries.
And Saudi Arabia, which is also a key player in Opec, will be wanting to prevent that because of their own internal relationships going on there. There's this big crackdown on corruption. Mohammed bin Salman is trying to put things on a different kilter within Saudi Arabia, so it's important that the oil price stays high, as far as Saudi's concerned.