Oil Pauses Ahead of OPEC Meeting in St. Petersburg

25 July, 2017, 11:41 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Last week OPEC said its crude oil production averaged 32.61 million bpd in June

Saudi Arabia is heavily dependent on oil for income and has been suffering since oil prices crashed from more than $100 a barrel in 2014.

OPEC sources told Reuters on Saturday that Nigeria could cap output if it managed to sustain production at 1.8 million bpd for 90 days.

On 25 May, Opec agreed with 10 non-OPEC producers led by Russian Federation to cut oil output by a combined 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd), from January 2017 until the end of March 2018, in a bid to support the oil price.

Nigeria and Libya have been asked to keep their current oil output levels, and they remain exempted from current cut-back agreement among Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers.

Prices fell below below $50 (44 euros) per barrel recently due to higher production in the U.S., which was not part of the deal - and also some countries' lack of discipline in enforcing cuts, for example Nigeria.

There was hope that the meeting would discuss output caps for Nigeria and Libya, the two Opec members so far exempt from a push to cut production.

This is given increased oil production in the Niger Delta following peace talks in the area that has caused violent attacks on oil facilities to cease.

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But the oil price is still well below the $50 price earlier this month and highs of around $56 earlier this year due to concern over rising United States shale production which is not governed by the joint Opec and non-Opec deal.

At 16 minutes after the hour, WTI and Brent prices had fallen further and were trading at $45.90 and $48.27 respectively.

On a recent interview, Saudi's energy minister Khalid al-Falih noted that the coalition's compliance regarding the output cut is derailing, even with the strong deal they recently made; he believes that there are a sluggish growth and progress which is needed to be tackled "head on".

Prices have trended downward as a result.

The kingdom tried to manipulate prices by slashing output to increase demand, but the plan backfired as U.S. shale producers continued to pump more oil.

There was no discussion of deeper output cuts, and OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said Nigeria had no intention of going beyond its production target of 1.8 million bpd.

Meanwhile, in the USA, weekly figures from energy services company Baker Hughes showed that the number of active rigs drilling for oil declined by 1 to 764 last week, suggesting early signs of moderating domestic production growth.

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