Oil prices have dropped in Saudi Arabia after the world’s top oil exporter and OPEC member stopped pumping at the start of the year amid a dispute over the price of crude.
Saudi Arabia is the world leader in oil production, with more than 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd) of output.
OPEC is the cartel’s largest producer.
But Saudi Arabia said last week that it was cutting production by 3.5 million bpd for the third time this year to reduce the threat of a price spike.
Brent crude, the world mainstay, fell to $68.52 per barrel, its lowest since February.
US crude fell to a session low of $65.42.
Oil prices rose after OPEC announced it was reducing production at the end of March.
But the drop in prices was short-lived.
On Tuesday, Brent crude fell another $2 to $65 a barrel, the biggest drop since mid-February.
US benchmark crude, which is often used as a benchmark for crude trading, fell $3.65 to $70.03 per barrel.
Brent and US crude are the two most important crude trading pairs.
Saudi officials said the cuts were meant to reduce risk and boost the economy.
The kingdom is the biggest exporter of oil in the world.
Saudi President Abdallah El-Saud is expected to attend OPEC’s meeting in Vienna next month.
“Saudi Arabia is making the right decision in cutting production,” OPEC said in a statement.
The OPEC countries have been negotiating a new price for oil and the oil cartel agreed last month to cut production to 2.1 million bdpd by the end to help ease the financial pressure on producers.
Saudi state media said the government is working to restart crude production in the kingdom to help reduce the impact of the drop.
Saudi Arabian oil ministry official Abdul Rahman Al-Qahtani said Saudi oil minister Khalid Al-Falih will be attending the meeting in a bid to resolve the dispute.
The dispute between Saudi Arabia and the OPEC member states has become a key sticking point in negotiations over the global price of oil.
Saudi oil exports have fallen by around $10 billion this year as production is cut to 2 million bp, the kingdom’s official oil sales agency said on Tuesday.
Saudi Aramco, Saudi Aramya and Saudi Oil Co have said they want to increase production by up to 2m bpd this year.
The cut in Saudi production has also caused a decline in crude prices.
The US crude benchmark has fallen to $72.26 a barrel.
It is down about 8 per cent since last month, the worst slump since February 2016.
Brent, the benchmark, has fallen by about 1 per cent.
Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is scheduled to attend the meeting.
“This decision is in line with the government’s economic plan to diversify its economy away from crude and other products and toward renewable energy sources,” the Saudi Press Agency said.
The United States also has cut production by nearly 1.5m bp this year, the agency said.
“The U.S. will remain a significant oil exporters for the foreseeable future,” it said.
OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela are fighting over the share of global oil production.
They have been trying to reach a deal that would increase output to boost oil prices and bring them back to more normal levels.
OPEC countries are negotiating an agreement to lift production by 2 million-3 million bpm (1.7m-2.4m bpm) for the first time since the collapse of OPEC in 2014.
The deal would see output rise to 3.2 million bps by 2021, from 2.8 million baps.