Oil producing countries should cut output by one million barrels per day to re-balance the market, Saudi Arabia's energy minister said Monday, following a drop in crude prices.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih listens to questions during a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi.
The worry: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), which includes Saudi Arabia and Iraq and Iran, and other non-Opec oil producers such as Russian Federation met in Abu Dhabi on Sunday to discuss oil cuts. "I think those reports are going to be even weaker because they will have to adjust for the increase in USA production", Jakob said.
The fall in price was attributed to the lower impact of US sanctions on Iran due to the exceptions it gave to India, China and other nations, as well the increased oil production by the US, Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation. West Texas Intermediate, the USA marker, climbed 0.9 percent to $60.75, paring its losses after falling into a bear market last week.
Crude prices hit four-year highs of more than $80 a barrel in late September and early October over fears of the impact of United States sanctions on Iranian oil exports, sparking warnings of prices hitting $100.
"Saudi Arabia has stepped in front of the oil market bears, proactively announcing they will reduce exports", said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia/Pacific at futures brokerage in Oanda in Singapore.
"The recent drop in oil prices reflects a combination of factors".
"With the Iranian sanctions not being as severe as initially feared, officials from the OPEC and non-OPEC producers may discuss at the weekend the need to bring compliance back down towards the 100-percent level or risk another 2014-style slide in prices", he said.
The Saudi minister acknowledged that so far there was no fresh agreement on reducing production among OPEC and non-OPEC producers, who struck a deal in late 2016 to cut output by 1.8 million bpd to remedy an oversupply crisis.
The oil producers could agree (though Russian Federation doesn't want to) to reduce the output to somewhere between the May and October figure (say a cut of up to 1 million) - cutting all the way to May level may attract the wrath of Donald Trump.
Falih said the USA sanctions had removed less oil from the market than expected because of the waivers.
When asked about the possibility of an output cut, he insisted it was "premature to talk about a specific action". "Oil markets are significantly oversold in our view, and we remain convinced that both Brent and [US benchmark] WTI will rebound from their current bearish market mode", said analysts at MUFG bank.
He said the market sentiment has shifted from one of fearing shortages to one anxious about oversupply.
Through large production cuts starting at the beginning of 2017, they managed to push up oil prices from below United States dollars 30 a barrel to over USD 85 a barrel in October, strongly improving their revenues.
But producers eased output cuts in June after signs of a tighter market and higher prices, selling hundreds of thousands of extra barrels.
Commerzbank, Germany's second-largest lender, said Friday that oil producers must act to prevent prices tumbling.
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