Oil prices rose more than 4% on Jan. 5 after OPEC + reached an unusual agreement on production quotas. Saudi Arabia pledged to cut the kingdom’s oil production by a million barrels a day, while Russia and Kazakhstan were allowed to increase production slightly.
“Saudi Arabia agreed to cut and Russia and Kazakhstan were allowed to increase production. Obviously, it’s a common development. ” Alexei Kokin, a senior oil and gas analyst with UralSib Financial Corp in Moscow, told New Europe on Jan. 6 by phone.
After the meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major oil producers led by Russia, a group called OPEC +, the countries involved in the agreement decided to extend the current level of oil production cuts for February and March 2021 at the Kazakh Ministry of Energy, said in an explanation. “At the same time, separate terms were agreed for Kazakhstan and Russia, which provide for a gradual increase in production over this period by 10,000 and 65,000 barrels per day, respectively. The OPEC + commitments for Kazakhstan in February and March will therefore be 1.427 million barrels a day and 1.437 million barrels a day, respectively, ”added the Kazakh energy ministry.
OPEC + has agreed to meet every month to gain access to the market. “It’s not that easy to meet every month and try to adjust production every month to keep it under control and essentially micromanage production when you have such a large group of producers. This is either done by consensus, which is very difficult, almost impossible, or basically only by the great people – from the greatest and most responsible members of the organization – and in which case it is inevitable that the member will see the greatest risks as well unilaterally reduced production to show that this is a big problem for them, ”said the Uralsib expert, explaining the Saudi willingness to reduce production by one million barrels in order to stabilize the market.
“In some ways this was inevitable because of the shortened time horizon for new quotas. Because if they had kept the time horizon for half a year, maybe a year, things would have looked different. There will be more efforts to find a compromise and then stick to it. And now it’s very difficult to make a consensus decision on what leads to this unusual outcome – and it could lead to unusual decisions in the future too, ”he said.
On Jan. 5, Brent crude rose above $ 53 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) rose above $ 50. “The dealers are pretty confident that the OPEC + deal will more or less continue to work. Maybe not in the long term, not even in the medium term, but in the short term it will continue to work. When demand recovers and vaccines are introduced, things will be different. The role of OPEC could be smaller and a demand-driven recovery, “said Kokin, adding,” But for now, the market is setting its fate in OPEC + and in Saudi Arabia.
According to the UralSib expert, the greatest burden on OPEC + will come later, when demand recovers quickly and the market adjusts to this surge in consumption. “Then everyone will open their taps or try to open their taps as wide as possible – the Americans, Canadians, Brazilians, Norwegians, and everyone in OPEC + will also try to get a share of this growing market, and that will be theirs Put strength to the test. Kokin said, adding that passing it is probably a relatively straightforward test right now. “The real pressures are likely to come around the same time that demand picks up, which is likely to be in late spring,” he said.
In his opening speech, the Saudi Arabian energy minister and chairman of the OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial meetings said Abdulaziz Bin Salman, recalled that OPEC + producers not only made the biggest cuts in oil supplies yet, but saw through those cuts. “We have achieved the highest level of compliance in the four years OPEC + has been in operation and for the first time agreed a compensation mechanism to compensate for any deviations from our past goals,” he said. “Our collaborative approach has helped us to make a major contribution to realigning the global oil markets after the shocks of last year. But now that we see light at the end of the tunnel, we must avoid the temptation to slacken our resolve at all costs. It is true that the arrival of multiple vaccines against the COVID-19 virus is a very welcome sign. I said earlier that vaccinations would be the single most important factor driving economic recovery, which would lead to a sustained improvement in oil demand. We have seen this in the general return to optimism in the market since the first vaccines were approved late last year. However, since I run the risk of being seen as spoilsport in the proceedings, I would like to call for caution even in this generally optimistic environment, ”said Bin Salman.
The Saudi energy minister warned that uncertainty in the world was still high. “Global oil demand is still well below the level at the beginning of the year. The demand for transportation fuels, especially aviation fuels, is particularly fragile. The new variant of the disease is a worrying and unpredictable development. In many parts of the world where infection rates have increased worryingly, a new wave of lockdowns and restrictions are being put in place that will inevitably affect economic recovery in these countries, ”he said, urging OPEC + oil producers to do so not to do Take for granted the progress you have made as a group over the past year.
Kokin told New Europe that OPEC + members are concerned that there are still a few months before consumption increases rapidly. He forecast that demand will increase in May, June and July and will continue to increase until the end of the year. “It may not reach 2019 levels; It could be a million or two million barrels short of a day. But at some point in late spring it will likely go up pretty quickly. But until then we still have most of January, we have February, March and we have to go through these months. Especially in January and February when the demand is not particularly high. Consumption in the first quarter is usually seasonally weak. So this has to be taken into account because if consumption is weak as production increases, stocks will not decrease very quickly and may even increase this winter. In this case, the overall short-term picture for physical oil in the market doesn’t look very good, “Kokin said.
He noted that there is no guarantee against short-term declines in the $ 40 a barrel area. “Maybe $ 45, which is still not dramatic, but undesirable. So you are concerned in the short term. Of course the vaccine looks good, the outlook is good for everyone, but by the time we get there we face possible pitfalls in using it, “said Kokin, adding,” The progress of the recovery process is still unclear, which is why there are some concerns one of the more responsible members, Saudi Arabia, Russia and the great. “
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