All eyes on Vienna this week as OPEC and its partners engage in two days of meetings to determine just how much they’ll cut oil production to help bring the markets back in balance and stem falling oil prices. Where do we stand as of now? A bit in limbo as OPEC members await a decision by Russia before deciding on exact volumes of reduction. Russia’s Energy Minister flew back to Moscow to consult with Russian President Vladimir Putin before his expected return Friday when we’ll presumably find out Russia’s stance. 

In the meantime, OPEC members have agreed to a tentative cut reportedly in the neighborhood of a million barrels per day. The numbers so far are short of expectations and oil prices on Thursday fell 5% on the reports. We’ll have ongoing coverage including updates on Friday’s OPEC –plus meeting on Hart Energy’s family of websites.

In Mexico, new President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has thrown down the gauntlet to oil majors. The leftist president said he won’t cancel any contracts issued to foreign and national oil companies by his predecessors, but challenged them to pump oil quickly or no further oil fields will be offered. Lopez Obrador took office December 1st and promised to increase the government’s role in the energy industry. How he handles the energy industry will be one of the biggest challenges to is six-year term. He promised to raise oil production from historic lows but has not fully clarified how.

Scotland-based Wood has been awarded a $43 million contract by a large-cap midstream company to construct 80 miles of steel pipeline in West Texas. Who that company is? Wood hasn’t said yet. But, it did say the project will transport NGL across Texas and at peak construction is expected to employ 200 people.

Finally, in A&D news, California-based Berry Petroleum exited East Texas to turn its focus on its core oil assets in its home state. Berry sold noncore producing properties and related assets to an unknown buyer. CEO Trem Smith described the buyer as a local operator and that the sell is worth $6.7 million and the transaction was completed November 30th.