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Opec likely to extend output cuts at its meeting in Vienna, Austria on 25 May. Reuters

Opec's ministerial committee proposed an extension of output cuts on Wednesday (24 May) –instituted by leading producers – to March 2018, ahead of a formal announcement on the matter, a source familiar with the matter has told IBTimes UK.

The so-called Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, of selected Opec and non-Opec producers drafted in to oversee compliance with cuts instituted in last December, has recommended that the participating 11 non-Opec producers and Opec members roll over their 1.8m barrels per day (bpd) cuts for another nine months, according to the senior source.

The source also suggested that leading oil market power brokers Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Russia have given the proposal their backing. However, an Opec spokesperson declined to comment, referring IBTimes UK to the formal quota announcement due on Thursday.

A Saudi delegate also declined to divulge details of the monitoring committee meeting, but Venezuelan oil minister Nelson Martinez and Algeria's energy minister Noureddine Boutarfa have publicly backed a quota cut extension in separate briefings.

Opec will achieve its "stated aim" of balancing global fuel inventories back in line with the five-year average by the end of 2018, Martinez added, earlier on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, non-Opec producer Oman has said it is "not opposed" to the deal, but was seeking "more clarity and discussion" on the matter, according to newswire Reuters.

At 2:58pm BST, both oil benchmarks were broadly flat staying close to overnight ranges, with the Brent front-month contract at $54.24 per barrel, up 0.17% or 9 cents, and West Texas Intermediate up 0.02% or a cent at $51.46 per barrel.

Opec's formal announcement is expected at 4pm BST on Thursday.