The Oilholic arrived at the first day of the OPEC International Seminar to find the oil producers' group in a belligerent mood led by kingmaker Saudi Arabia. The kingdom's energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said recent OPEC+ actions demonstrate the strength of the partnership and teamwork with Russia.
Furthermore, he uttered two words that shaped the entire day - "market stability". Addressing delegates, Abdulaziz said his country will do whatever it takes to ensure it, and looks like Riyadh is not ditching its stance of unilateral voluntary oil production cut of 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in a huff. Though Abdulaziz did go to some length to say the Kingdom's current stance does imply it was returning to its 1980s swing producer status.
His address followed that of several of his OPEC ministerial peers repeatedly mentioning the need for "market stability" - cue a higher crude price, perhaps one that's above $81 per barrel the Saudis need to balance their budget. UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei chimed in by adding that if anything OPEC deserves an even larger market share in a "balanced" energy market, and added that market commentary on the group's intentions had been a tad er....unbalanced.
And not to be outdone, Azerbaijan's Minister of Energy Parviz Shahbazov quipped that if OPEC+ or OPEC didn't hypothetically exist as groups, "we would need to create them" across the energy value chain, and not just oil, in the interests of well, you guessed it - "market stability".
But one of the main reasons a higher oil price that OPEC+ craves is proving elusive is down to the 6 million bpd of Russian oil that is still finding its way to the market despite a near absence of Western buyers, and India and China duly obliging by importing copious amounts it.
Canada, Guyana, US, Brazil and Norway are all also pumping more. But the biggest weight on the crude price is the uncertain economic climate and the hawkish stance of global central banks, especially the US Federal Reserve. More to follow from Vienna, but that's all for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it crude!
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© Gaurav Sharma 2023. Photo © Gaurav Sharma, July 5, 2023.