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Moscow, Riyadh eye 1.5m bpd OPEC output hike

17 June 2018 [13:00] - TODAY.AZ

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Russia says it will join Saudi Arabia to ask the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase production by 1.5 million barrels a day (bpd) in the third quarter of 2018, Press TV reported.

Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that Moscow and Riyadh "propose increasing production in the third quarter by 1.5 million bpd".

"We are only proposing this for the third quarter. In September, we will review the situation in the market and decide the future course," RIA Novosti news agency quoted Novak as saying as reported by Reuters.

The Russian energy minister’s remarks follows reports that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday – a meeting which reportedly culminated in a deal oil production ceilings.

No details on the agreement came out, but bin Salman was quoted by media as hailing Riyadh’s cooperation with Moscow over oil market issues.

OPEC and Russia decided together in 2016 to cut their supply in order to push prices up following a crash induced by a global crude production glut.

An oil production shortfall in Iran and Venezuela has changed the scenario for the two countries and members of the oil cartel, Reuters added in its report.

Since 2017, an OPEC agreement on production cuts has allowed oil prices to rise but there are fears that renewed American sanctions on Iran and a fall in output in crisis-hit Venezuela could disrupt supply.

OPEC and non-OPEC members will meet on Wednesday to discuss the latest market situation with some anticipating that all producers would eventually agree on easing their 2016 output cut deal.

There are also speculations that OPEC would reach a deal to moderately raise output over several months, with an option to hike further, as reported by CNBC.com.

In May, US President Donald Trump announced that he would pull America out of a 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and re-impose the sanctions that the deal had envisaged to be lifted.

He has already emphasized that the sanctions which would be imposed on Iran would be “at the highest level”.

The sanctions would include a universal ban on Iran over buying or acquiring US dollars as well as restrictions over purchases of crude oil from the country and investing in its oil sector projects.

The Trump administration has also imposed oil sanctions against Venezuela after President Nicolas Maduro won re-election through a poll that US claims to have been rigged last month.

Last week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned that US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela could bring down both countries’ oil production by around 30 percent in 2019.

Nevertheless, it emphasized that extra output from OPEC and non-OPEC countries such as Saudi Arabia and Russia could compensate for the lost supply.

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