OPEC Talks End Without Recommendation On Output Cut Extension

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By Tsvetana Paraskova, Oilprice.com

The OPEC/non-OPEC joint panel on monitoring the cuts, which is meeting in Vienna today, has concluded talks without any recommendation for the broader group on whether it will extend the production cuts beyond March next year, one OPEC delegate told Bloomberg at the end of the meeting.

The monitoring committee, which consists of OPEC’s Kuwait, Venezuela, and Algeria, as well as non-OPEC Russia and Oman, was also expected to discuss a proposal to consider informal monitoring of crude oil exports, in addition to supervising compliance to production cuts.

At the time of writing, OPEC had not yet issued the official statement on the state of the oil market, but ministers at the meeting said that the cuts were clearing the glut, Reuters reports.

“Since our last meeting in July, the oil market has markedly improved,” Kuwait’s Oil Minister Essam al-Marzouq said in an opening speech at the panel meeting that he is chairing. “The market is now evidently well on its way toward rebalancing,” the minister said.

Al-Marzouq also said that Libya and Nigeria—which were invited to take part in the meeting—would contribute to the supply cut deal once their output stabilizes, the Financial Times reports.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Nigeria’s Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu reiterated that Nigeria would accept a cap only when its production fully stabilizes. When Nigeria’s output reaches a consistent level of 1.8 million bpd, “we will basically place a cap on ourselves,” Kachikwu said, a careful statement that would not beholden it to the cartel.

Alexander Novak, the Energy Minister of Russia and leader of the non-OPEC group part of the deal, said that some of the world’s largest oil producers had discussed a possible extension, even in the face of evidence that the cuts have finally started to work. However, it’s still too early to make any formal decision to extend the deal, Novak noted.

“I believe that January is the earliest date when we can actually, credibly speak about the state of the market,” the FT quoted Novak as telling reporters.

According to ZeroHedge, Novak said that the best timing to end the pact would be when demand is high.

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