WASHINGTON: Oil prices fell on Thursday after rising by more than 1% earlier in the session after OPEC+ oil producers agreed to voluntary output cuts approaching 2 million barrels per day (bpd) for early next year, with each country announcing separately its voluntary cut.

Brent crude futures for January fell by 50 cents, or 0.6%, to $82.60 a barrel by 11:30 am EDT (1630 GMT). The front-month Brent contract, down about 6% on the month, expires later on Thursday. The more liquid February contract was down $2.54, or 3.1%, at $80.34. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell by $2.63, or 3.4%, to $75.24, and are down about 9% on the month.

Brent’s premium to US WTI futures hit its highest since January in the session. Saudi Arabia, Russia and other members of OPEC+, who pump more than 40% of the world’s oil, held a virtual meeting on Thursday to discuss 2024 output amid concerns the market faces a potential surplus.

OPEC+ said the latest agreement would involve cuts approaching 2 million bpd, including Saudi Arabia extending a voluntary cut of 1 million bpd it has had in place since July. Their output of some 43 million bpd already reflects cuts of about 5 million bpd aimed at supporting prices and stabilising the market.

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