OPEC discussing oil production increase to ease energy costs

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Saudi Arabia is reportedly looking to increase production by 1 million barrels per day, while Russian Federation has said it would like to see an extra 1.5 million barrels per day to the market before reassessing the next move.

Friday's big OPEC meeting in Vienna will have a big influence on how much consumers pay at the pump over the next several months; it appears likely prices will moderate.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih had earlier signalled a compromise could be in the works.

Emirati Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said the decision was to fully comply with OPEC's self-imposed production limit, and the difference between that and current levels is "a little bit less than 1 million barrels".

Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, Iran's oil minister, stormed out of the meeting on Thursday evening.

WTI turned positive after energy information provider Genscape said crude inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma hub were expected to have dropped by 2.3 million barrels in the week since Tuesday, traders said. Trump has been lobbying OPEC to help lower prices.

Most analysts agree that the increases are necessary to offset the declines in Venezuela due to the economic turmoil, and the drop in Iranian exports because of US sanctions.

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Oil prices rose in early Asian trading on Wednesday, supported by a drop in US commercial crude inventories reported by the American Petroleum Institute (API). Brent, the global benchmark, was up 1.85% to $74.80 a barrel.

The kingdom's plan involves a complex calculation based on how much the group has cut production beyond the initial target of 1.8 million barrels a day set in 2016, said delegates, asking not be named discussing private meetings.

The correction in prices have been a continuing trend since May 23, when prices breached the $80 mark after the announcement of new U.S. sanctions on Iran and ongoing supply disruptions in Libya and Venezuela. "A more relaxed policy will push Brent towards $70 a barrel, while restrictive measures will support crude oil back towards $80". USA investment bank Jefferies said an increase in "the range of 450-750,000 bpd seems the most likely outcome" of the meeting.

"There was a lot of anticipation in the market that there was going to be a lot of new oil coming to market, and that isn't going to happen, at least for now", said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital.

"This shows that China is a significant outlet for United States crude exports and the early indications are that the exports would be much higher in Q2 2018 given the lower WTI-Brent differential which made the arbitrage to Asia look more attractive", Sivanandam noted.

The cartel's largest producer, Saudi Arabia, is seen to be open to higher production but Iran has been hesitant.

The outcome of that meeting could give oil users around the world a strong indication as to whether they face the prospect of rising prices later this year - possibly as high as $100 a barrel - or more plentiful supply that would ease the cost of gasoline and diesel.

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