Major oil producers including Saudi Arabia and Russia are likely to agree to cut production at a Thursday meeting but only if the US joins the effort, three OPEC+ sources told Reuters
The cut is aimed at coping with the disastrous effect of the coronavirus on fuel demand.
Worldwide oil demand has dropped by roughly 30%, or about 30 million barrels a day, at the same time that Saudi Arabia and Russia have been flooding markets with extra supply.
Last week, in response to a weeks-long market rout, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, started talking about cutting production.
But it want other non-OPEC nations to participate, particularly the US.
The US has not committed to taking part in any deal, which US President Donald Trump has said could take 10% to 15% of world supply off the market.
US companies cannot coordinate production due to competition laws.
The White House has said it was encouraging talks between the other countries, instead. Major US oil companies and industry groups are opposed to mandated cuts, which would be an extraordinary step in the US.
On Friday, G20 energy ministers and members of some other international organisations will hold their own video conference, hosted by Saudi Arabia, a senior Russian source told Reuters.
Efforts to get the US involved in the production cut deal will be on the agenda, the source said.
Russia and Saudi Arabia have long been frustrated that curbs by OPEC and others have left a gap that has been filled by shale oil firms in the US, which became the world's biggest producer.
That frustration led in part to March's collapse of an OPEC+ supply deal that has propped up oil prices for three years.
US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said yesterday that US production was already starting to fall due to the plunge in crude prices.
Following the collapse of the OPEC+ deal, Riyadh and Moscow blamed each other and launched a battle for market share, sending oil prices to their lowest in two decades.
That has strained the budgets of oil-producing nations and hit higher-cost producers in the United States.
Scrambling to secure a bigger market share, Saudi Arabia raised crude output to 12.3 million barrels per day (bpd) on April 1 and said it planned to export more than 10 million bpd.
With by far the world's biggest reserve of extra capacity, Riyadh has insisted it will no longer carry what it considers an unfair burden of cuts.
While competition laws prohibit US oil producers from taking steps to push up oil prices, curbing output would be legal if state regulators or the federal government set lower production levels, antitrust experts said.
The US authorities have yet to indicate what, if any, action they might take.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said OPEC+ cuts could amount to around 10 million bpd, or some 10% of global output. Russian production reached 11.29 million bpd in March.
A Russian government and an industry source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 10% might not be enough to steady the global oil market given the weakness of demand.