Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

It's happening. Per Reuters, "Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak has had talks with Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih on an easing of the terms of the global oil supply pact that has been in place for 17 months, Novak said on Friday."

Why it matters: The comments signal how a swirl of forces — notably Venezuela's collapsing production and the revived U.S. sanctions against Iran — are prompting Russia and OPEC to weigh changes in their output-limiting agreement.

What's on the table: Reuters and the Financial Times, citing anonymous sources, say discussions are exploring a combined output boost of around one million barrels per day.

What's going on in the market: Prices have been sliding recently in anticipation of more supplies hitting the market.

  • The global benchmark Brent crude, which has touched $80 per barrel in trading earlier this month, has fallen into the $77 range this morning.

What's next: All eyes will be on the OPEC meeting in Vienna next month, where ministers from the cartel and allied producers will discuss the output-limiting deal that's currently slated to run through the end of 2018.

2018, ladies and gentlemen: Reuters reports from Russia this morning . . .

  • "OPEC began a discussion about easing production cuts following a critical tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump, OPEC’s Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said on Friday."

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