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OPEC Poised for “Safe Bet” of Oil Cuts Extension by Nine Months


OPEC and its allies were prepared to prolong their production cuts for an additional nine months following the failure of last year’s agreement to clear a world supply excess or produce a sustainable price recovery.

Keeping an unwavering level of production through March 2018 “is a very safe and almost certain option to do the trick,” according to Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih in his statement in the opening session of the group’s meeting in Vienna. “It’s likely we’ll be balanced earlier than later.”

Six months after forming an unforeseen partnership of 24 countries and delivering output decreases that exceeded all expectations, growing production from US shale fields has denoted that oil inventories persist to be considerably above the level targeted by OPEC ministers.

Regardless of such, Al-Falih claimed that the curbs were working, with the help of stockpile decreases to quicken in the third quarter. While he predicts a “healthy return” for US shale, which will not disrupt OPEC’s objectives and proposals for profounder cuts were considered unwarranted. Libya declared that Nigeria will continue to be immune from the output curbs, he said.

Oil plummeted as did prices during the beginning of the meeting. Brent crude decreased as much as 2.2 percent in London and lowered 0.5 percent at $53.68 a barrel at 10:53 a.m. Certain investors were let down after predicting that OPEC might announce some additional action, according to Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS Group AG.

The oil market is also searching for indications regarding how OPEC may choose to act in 2018—which is a year when US shale output escalation is projected to equate the increase in demand. There’s also concern regarding whether or not OPEC could return to the free-for-all production that triggered prices to plunge from 2014 to 2016.

“We have said we will do whatever it takes,” claimed Al-Falih in relation to the potential course of action after March 2018.

The nine-month extension set to be focused on in the discussion scheduled for Thursday could encompass an option for an additional three months, according to ministers from Russia and Nigeria. That is comparable to last year’s accord which included the option for a further extension of six months.

Although an extension of that length at the same output levels is the most favorable option, there are multiple alternatives, including one with more profound cuts, informed Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luaibi. “If this is approved, Iraq will comply,” he revealed.

Prolonging the pact will bring producers prices stability, Nigerian Oil Minister Emmanuel Kachikwu declared in an interview he gave on television prior to the meeting on Thursday.

“If we keep to the rules, if we keep to the discipline—all the numbers show good compliance—then we should look at a $50 floor,” he stated. “On a positive note, on an optimistic note, lots of us hope we can crawl back to $60.’’

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and 11 non-members decided last year to slash the output by as much as 1.8 million barrels per day. The historic accord impacted everything from the valuations of US shale producers to the foreign exchange rates of energy-dependent countries like Brazil and Nigeria.

The supply decreases were supposed to last six months from January. However, the starting confidence in the agreement, which increased prices by as much as 20 percent, diminished as inventories persisted to be notably high and US output surged.

US crude production augmented to 9.32 million barrels per day last week, an increase of 550,000 this year, which constitutes the highest since August 2015, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. This wipes out roughly a third of the supply reduction from OPEC and its allies, and the output surge could increase twofold by the end of the year, according to a statement made by consultant Markit Ltd. In a meeting the prior week.

Escalating shale output will be encompassed by a more intense demand, United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei asserted before OPEC initiated its ministerial meeting.

“U.S. shale oil producers have been so far focusing on the sweet spots,” Mazrouei declared in Vienna. “Now they have to move to other areas. I don’t believe that they are able to increase production by 1 million barrels a day next year. I don’t.”

Featured Image via Wikimedia.

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