OPEC and allied oil exporters support a cut in the global supply of crude, Oman Oil Minister Mohammed bin Hamad al-Rumhi said on Sunday. “Many of us share this view,” the minister said when asked about the need for a cut. Asked if it could amount to 500,000 or one million barrels per day, he replied: “I think it is unfair for me to throw numbers now.”
He was speaking in Abu Dhabi where an oil market monitoring committee was held on Sunday, attended by top exporters Saudi Arabia and Russia. “We need a consensus,” he said, indicating that non-OPEC Russia would need to approve any decision. Oman is also not a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Saudi Arabia is discussing a proposal to cut oil output by up to 1 million barrels per day by OPEC and its allies, two sources close to the discussions told Reuters on Sunday. The sources said the discussions were not finalized as much depended on the reduction in Iranian exports.
“There is a general discussion about this. But the question is how much is needed to reduce by the market,” one of the sources said, speaking in Abu Dhabi where a market monitoring committee is due to be held on Sunday, attended by top exporters Saudi Arabia and Russia. Asked by reporters in Abu Dhabi if the market is in balance, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said: “We will find out. We have our meeting later.”
Al-Falih last month said there could be a need for intervention to reduce oil stockpiles after increases in recent months. The United States this month imposed sanctions curtailing Iran’s oil exports as part of efforts to curb Tehran’s nuclear and missile programs as well as its support for proxy forces in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.
More News On OPEC. Producers face a supply glut, despite the return of sanctions against Iran. Surging shale means the group will have to extend output cuts. It was meant to be a short, sharp shock. Instead, OPEC members are facing a long, slow grind with no end in sight.
The deal reached with several non-OPEC countries in 2016 to cut oil supply and drain excess inventories was meant to last just six months. But after last week’s ugly slide into a bear market for prices, the agreement looks likely to drag into a third year as the group faces having to make further cuts in 2019.
Taking 1.8 million barrels a day of oil off the market from January 2017 was meant to drain excess inventories by the middle of that year, restore prices to an undefined “acceptable” level and balance supply and demand. Instead, the glut persisted. Although better than expected, compliance with the agreement was not complete and it was not until the deal was extended and Saudi Arabia started cutting shipments to the U.S. in the middle of 2017 that prices really began to pick up.
A further extension to the deal helped to push prices up to $80 a barrel by mid-2018, earning tweeted rebukes from President Donald Trump that prompted a relaxation of the cuts and a surge in supply from those with the capacity to do so — principally Saudi Arabia and Russia. Total OPEC output is now the highest since before the cuts were introduced, even after allowing for changes in membership, while Russia’s hit a post-Soviet high of 11.4 million barrels a day last month.
But the recovery in oil prices has been a double-edged sword for OPEC and friends. Sure, it has boosted revenues for most — Venezuela and soon Iran being the exceptions — but it has also lit a fire under U.S. shale oil production.