OPEC President optimistic of consensus on oil output cut

The President of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Mohammed Al-Sada, has said he is optimistic members would agree to cut oil production as the 171st meeting of the group begins on Wednesday in Vienna, Austria.

In his opening address to the conference, Mr. Al-Sada, who is also Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry, said the situation in the global oil market required urgency in “bringing forward the rebalancing of the fundamentals and returning sustainable stability to the market.”

He said since its last meeting in September 28 in Algiers, OPEC Reference Basket of crude oil price was just above $42 per barrel.

The agreement by members during the meeting to cut production by almost one million barrels per day, he pointed out, had halted further decline in prices and reduced volatility, with prices climbing above $49 by mid-October.

However, Mr. Al-Sada noted that prices had gradually dropped from November 14 to below $41 per barrels, showing that price volatility was still a significant concern.

Although the OPEC president said a review of the supply and demand perspectives of the market revealed the beginning of the rebalancing of the fundamentals, he emphasised the need for urgent actions to stabilize the market for good.

“This year, we expect non-OPEC oil supply to contract by 800,000 barrels a day, compared to growth of 1.5 million barrels a day in 2015.  And in 2017, we only foresee a small growth in non-OPEC supply of 200,000 barrels a day,” Mr. Al-Sada said.

With world oil demand expected to grow at about 1.2 million barrels per day in both 2016 and 2017, he said global economic growth forecasts remained reasonable for both 2016 and 2017, at 2.9 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively.

Expressing worry about the continued large stock overhang throughout the year and recent price volatility, Mr. Al-Sada said these have only underscored to all producers the gravity of the situation and the need to unite and take action.

“It is also important to underscore that we need to not only consider the short-term, but the medium- and long-term as well. Of course, the short-term directs our current thinking, but as we all know, this is very much a medium- to long-term business,” he said.

With oil demand in OPEC’s 2016 World Oil Outlook projected at over 109 million barrels a day by 2040, an increase of over 16 million barrels per day, the OPEC president said to meet this would require over $10 trillion investments in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the industry.

At the end of the meeting, members are expected to take a decision to implement the September 28 resolution to reduce crude oil production by about one million barrels per day (bpd), from about 33.82 million bpd in October, to stabilize the market and boost prices.

Although ahead of the meeting, there were reports of divisions in opinions between OPEC and non-OPEC countries on the way forward, Mr. Al-Sada said he was confident about a consensus to move forward.

He said since the resolution, a high-level committee led by the group’s Secretary General, Nigeria’s Mohammed Barkindo, to study and recommend the implementation of member countries’ production levels had done enough work to ensure a positive consensus at the meeting.

“I am very hopeful that the positive talks will continue here in Vienna today leading to a mutually acceptable solution on the way forward. OPEC fully appreciates the importance of bringing forward the rebalancing of the fundamentals and returning sustainable stability to the market. This will be beneficial to our economies, the global oil market and the world economy as a whole,” he said.

The outcome of the meeting would be known later today.


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