OPEC to cut oil production
Oil oscillated near US$58 a barrel as the OPEC+ ministers met in Vienna to pin down the details of an agreement to adjust its official output target.
Futures fell 0.1 per cent in New York after gyrating throughout the previous session after six hours of fraught OPEC ministerial talks. While the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is nearing a deal to reduce its official output target in line with recent production, ministers left the cartel’s headquarters on Thursday without cementing an agreement. Saudi Arabia will hold its oil output steady at current levels under the terms of the adjusted OPEC+ deal, said delegates Friday morning.
Oil is set for a weekly gain as shrinking American crude stockpiles and signs of progress on a possible U.S.-China trade deal added to the bullish tone. Russia, which has only complied with its OPEC+ production quota for just three months of this year, had its proposal to exclude a very light oil called condensate from the country’s quota, approved by OPEC+ on Thursday. An adjustment to Iraq’s production was also reported to be a sticking point in the group approving a final deal.
“If it’s off the October 2018 baseline, a 500,000-barrel a day shared-out cut is not too impressive, that’s all we learned,” Bob McNally, founder of Rapidan Energy Advisors LLC said in a Bloomberg TV interview. “That’s a nothing-burger, that’s almost a rollover by any other definition.”
West Texas Intermediate for January delivery fell 3 cents to $58.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 10:43 a.m. London time. Brent for February settlement rose 2 cents, to US$63.41 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange. The global benchmark traded at a US$5.09 premium to WTI for the same month.
A reduction of 500,000 barrels a day by OPEC and its allies would largely be symbolic, as it simply formalizes the deeper curbs the group has been making for most of this year, rather than taking barrels off the market. The group is set to have another full ministerial meeting in March, a delegate said.
The proposed new quota would only come into force if all members of the OPEC coalition implement 100% of their pledged cuts, Russian Minister Alexander Novak said in a Bloomberg TV interview. A policy decision is expected to be officially ratified after OPEC+ meet in Vienna on Friday.
Other oil-market news
- Saudi Aramco raised US$25.6 billion from the world’s biggest initial public offering, closing a deal that became synonymous with the kingdom’s crown prince and his plans to reshape the nation.
- At a time when U.S. refiners are ramping up to produce as much fuel as possible, refineries operated by embattled Petroleos de Venezuela SA are processing just one out of every 10 possible barrels.
- Exxon said fuel deliveries at its Fos refinery in France have returned to normal after strikes on Thursday.
China will announce the creation of its long-planned national oil and gas pipeline company on Dec. 9, according to people familiar with the matter.