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Oil Virtually Unchanged Ahead of OPEC Meeting

Oil prices were largely flat on Wednesday as investors turned their attention to a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies, known as OPEC+, to decide on output policy, while supply disruption caused by a storm in the Black Sea and lower U.S. inventories drove buying.

Brent crude futures fell eight cents, or 0.1%, to $81.60 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, crude futures fell two cents, or .03%, to $76.39 a barrel.

Both benchmarks gained about 2% on Tuesday as the market anticipated the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies such as Russia (OPEC+), will extend or deepen supply cuts.

OPEC+ on Wednesday continued talks, which sources had described as difficult. A meeting to decide on next year’s output policy on Thursday was, however, expected to go ahead on schedule, sources said on Wednesday.

A severe storm in the Black Sea region has disrupted up to two million barrels per day (bpd) of oil exports from Kazakhstan and Russia, according to state officials and port agent data, raising the prospect of short-term supply tightness.

Kazakhstan’s largest oilfields are cutting combined daily oil output by 56% from Nov. 27, the Kazakh energy ministry said.