Sunday, 24 March, 2019

OPEC cuts oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day

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"OPEC has committed to 800,000 [barrels per day] in output cuts, and 10 non-OPEC producers led by Russian Federation will slash another 400,000 b/d for six months beginning January, under a preliminary deal reached Friday after two days of tense negotiations".

Also, it seems that factors other than OPEC production are playing a bigger role in determining oil prices.

OPEC and its partners agreed to cut production of 1.2 million barrels per day, out of which eight million barrels will be cut by OPEC alone.

One stumbling block to an agreement had been Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival and fellow OPEC member, which had been arguing for an exemption to any cuts because its crude exports are already being pinched already by USA sanctions. World oil prices are down by about 31% since early October.

OPEC will first reconvene on Friday without outside partners, at 9 a.m.in Vienna, then at 12 p.m. the group meets with its non-OPEC allies, including Russian Federation, a delegate said. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 18 cents at $51.3 per barrel. It remains uncertain whether prices will rise as expected.

On Twitter Wednesday, Trump urged OPEC not to restrict oil flows, but since then has not publicly addressed the market.

The members of OPEC have agreed to cut oil production.

"Reversing the overwhelmingly bearish price sentiment will likely require a credible and cohesive message from the Opec meeting", USA investment bank Jefferies said on Friday.

The gathering took place against the backdrop of oil prices having fallen a good 30 percent from more than $86 in early October.

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"We continue to expect that slower economic growth will weigh on oil demand next year, which coupled with rapid growth in U.S. production, will put renewed downward pressure on prices", said Caroline Bain, an economist at Capital Economics.

The government on Friday expressed confidence that whatever decision the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) takes on output cuts to check the fall in crude prices, it would not go against the interests of consuming nations.

Trump "wants the oil and gas industry in the U.S.to grow, " Al-Falih said.

For the non-OPEC, the decision to adjust its output come January 2019 for an initial period of six months was as a result of prospects of a growing imbalance between global oil supply and demand in 2019.

But Bob McNally, president of USA -based Rapidan Energy Group, said the details of the cut were "fuzzy" and would likely result in a lesser reduction than the headline figure. Initially, an Opec report indicated that in order to stabilise the crude markets, an output cut of somewhere around 1.5m bpd was required.

Seaborne crude oil exports from OPEC countries, tracked daily by CargoMetrics, saw a relatively broad decline, with nine of the 15 OPEC member countries registering a week-on-week drop in oil tanker loadings.

"The commitments made under this proactive collaboration between participating countries are to be voluntarily implemented, non-binding and would not in any way affect the rights of peoples and nations to permanent sovereignty over the exploitation and management of their natural resources", he said.

He explained that the estimated surplus now on the market amounted to 1.3-2.4 million barrels per day.

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