Saudi says extending oil cuts, adding small producers enough to drain stocks

Posted May 22, 2017

All producers agree to extend crude output cuts by nine months to help trim a supply glut, according to Saudi Arabian Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Khalid al-Falih.

The oil producers also aim to facilitate a deeper cut in output, OPEC sources told Reuters on Friday.

"We believe that continuation with the same level of cuts, plus potentially adding one or two small producers if they wish to join, will be more than adequate to bring the balances to where they need to be by the first quarter of 2018", Al-Falih said today at a news conference in Riyadh.

Opec and the Russia-led group of countries last year reached an agreement to remove about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from the market in the first half of this year, leading initially to an oil price spike. OPEC and other global producers such as Russian Federation had agreed to reduce production in the first six months of this year, and the decision to extend the cuts will be taken when they meet in Vienna at the end of the month, al-Falih said.

Producers are working on fixing some "deviations" to the output limits set when they agreed on the cuts previous year, al-Falih said.

Several OPEC countries have spoken out in recent weeks in favour of extending the cuts.

Falih said his understanding from a public announcement by his Iranian counterpart was that Iran was happy to stay within the production ceiling allocated to them previous year.

In the last deal, Nigeria and Libya were exempt from the Opec cut because conflicts have disrupted their oil production.

Officials at the meeting were relieved that the two outside consultants had estimates for growth in average US crude output of 450,000 to 500,000 bpd this year, lower than the 562,000 bpd forecast from OPEC's own analysts, said two delegates.

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, and Gulf members of OPEC are also fully behind an extension, while there is "strong" commitment from Iraq and others, Falih said.

Neither Saudi nor most of other Opec members can afford this scenario right now, BofAML said in the report.

The two ministers said they had made a decision to recommend to their OPEC and non-OPEC peers that the 1.8 million barrels per day of combined production cuts in force since January this year be rolled over to March 2018.

An oversupply of oil has been affecting the global oil producers since the second half of 2014, when United States shale production skyrocketed, proving disruptive to the existing structure of global oil trading.

"Our expectation going forward is continuing a balanced and reasonable cut in volumes will optimize for all producers all their revenue, while at the same time keeping prices in a reasonable range for consumers and for the overall market", he said.

The ECB does not set policy and its meeting precedes the gathering of OPEC and non-OPEC oil ministers on May 25 to decide whether to extend beyond June 30 their deal to reduce output.

The size of the extra supply cut being mulled by the European Central Bank was not immediately available.

The cartel's national officials - representing the 13 member countries - plus officials from OPEC's Vienna secretariat - are to meet on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the market. Turkmenistan, along with Egypt and the Ivory Coast, are due to attend the meeting, sources have said.