Thursday, May 25, 2017

No surprises! OPEC & non-OPEC cuts rolled over for 9 months

If you were secretly hoping for a surprise at the 172nd OPEC ministers' meeting, consider your hopes dashed, as things went perfectly according to script.

Except of course Equatorial Guinea became the 14th member of OPEC out of the blue, and with little prior intimation to half of the world's press. 

That meant 24 oil producers - including 10 non-OPEC nations led by Russia, and 14 OPEC participants headed by kingpin Saudi Arabia - rolled over their 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) output cut to March 2018. 

Libya and Nigeria were exempt, Iran will be given some leeway, and Russia reaffirmed it was sticking to its 300,000 bpd pledge; the largest non-OPEC output cut of its kind on paper. (Here's the full IBTimes UK report). 

Big question is where from here? If Saudi Oil Minister Khalid Al-Falih is to be believed, this is all about rebalancing the market back to its five-year average. Problem here is that a buffer producer in the shape of the US keeps plugging away with some predicting its output to touch 10 million bpd in 2018. 

Were that to be the case, is OPEC not in effect subsidising shale players? Thrice yours truly asked Al-Falih whether that was the case, and thrice the question was ignored. The Oilholic is not convinced the extension of this cut would provide short-term support to the oil price that some are hoping for. 

In fact the initial response of the market has been something of a mini selloff, as many were hoping the cuts would either be deepened or be extended by 12 months. Nether happened, but the market got plenty of food for thought. That's all from Vienna in this instance folks. More when the Oilholic can make a more considered assessment and has gathered his thoughts. Till then, keep reading, keep it crude!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2017. Exterior of OPEC Secretariat, Vienna, Austria © Gaurav Sharma 2017. 

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