First Published: 2017-04-20

Saudi says oil producers may need to extend output cuts
Kingdom’s energy minister says output cuts agreed between OPEC, non-OPEC producers ‘might have to’ be extended to achieve target.
Middle East Online

Oil prices currently hover just over $50 per barrel

RIYADH - Saudi Arabia's energy minister said on Thursday that oil-producing countries might have to prolong output cuts agreed for the first six months of the year in order to achieve the desired rebalancing of the market.

"We might have to extend in order to reach the target... of stock levels," Khalid al-Falih told an energy forum in Abu Dhabi, referring to a deal between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to cut output by around 1.8 million barrels per day.

Falih, whose country is the world's largest exporter, said there was a sort of "initial agreement" on the need to extend the deal after talks in Kuwait last month.

He said producers would continue to assess market figures until next month, when ministers are expected to take a final decision at a meeting in Vienna.

"There was a high level of commitment in the first three months, but despite that, we have not achieved the target" of reducing the supply glut, he said.

OPEC members agreed in November to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day for six months beginning from the start of the year in a bid to shore up prices.

Some non-cartel producers, led by Russia, joined in December by committing to cut output by 558,000 bpd.

Kuwaiti Oil Minister Essam al-Marzouk said there was a "significant" commitment by producers from outside OPEC, and called for prolonging the cuts.

"It is important that we agree to extend the agreement," he told the forum.

Oil prices currently hover just over $50 per barrel after shedding around half of their value since mid-2014.

The International Energy Agency said last week that the compliance with the agreement among OPEC members and some non-members, including Russia, "has been impressive", giving a lift to oil prices.

But it added that improved prices had attracted higher-cost producers in the United States back to the market, raising the prospect of surprisingly high levels of non-OPEC supply throughout the year.

It said that if OPEC were to extend its output cut, that would boost prices, giving further encouragement to US shale oil producers to pump more.

Oil inventories fell in March but probably showed a rise in the first quarter overall because consumers stockpiled crude before the OPEC-led cuts took full effect, the IEA said.

 

Macron, Le Pen gird for final French election duel

US fires opening shots in confrontation with Iran

Israel kills three in attack on pro-regime Syria camp

Iran's historically unpredictable elections

LafargeHolcim CEO stepping down over Syria probe

Erdogan accuses researcher of 'inciting assassination'

Mattis sees Saudi Arabia ‘helping across the region’

Sirens, silence as Israel remembers Holocaust

Houthis intensify crackdown on dissent in Yemen

Italian reporter released in Turkey

Algiers summons Morocco envoy over Syrian migrant row

Iran reverses decision to ban live presidential debates

Six Israelis including two soldiers held for anti-Arab attacks

Economists, rights advocates concerned over Egypt’s state of emergency

US Defense Secretary Mattis visits strategic Djibouti

Qatari hunters ecstatic at release from Iraqi kidnappers

Prosecutor says charities colluding with migrant traffickers

France votes under heavy security

Iran's Ahmadinejad won't endorse other candidates

Rocky days ahead after Turkey referendum

Huge Shiite crowd throngs Baghdad shrine

Rabat accuses Algiers of expelling 55 migrants across border

Morocco, US take part in joint military exercise

US defence secretary visits key ally Qatar

Lebanese activists ramp up campaign against rape law

Saudis among kidnapped hunters freed in Iraq

Trial in Tunisia beach massacre set to begin April 26

Tunisia hotel attacked by jihadists sees hope in 'rebirth'

IS claims deadly attack on FSB office in Russia

Spate of attacks shows weakening of Islamic State

Mediterranean migrant death toll tops 1,000 in 2017

Iraq forces free 11-year-old Yazidi girl in Mosul

Kuwaiti opposition leader freed from prison

Kidnapped Qataris freed in Iraq, Syria evacuations resume

Turkey opposition to appeal referendum at top court

Fears engulf French election after Paris shooting

An Iraqi family's Colombian odyssey

US defence chief in Israel for talks on Iran, Syria

Morocco arrests scandal-hit Ferrari driving 'rich kid'

Syria evacuees on move again after being blocked for 48 hours

French policeman killed in IS attack in Paris

Trump: Iran not 'living up to spirit' of nuclear deal

Ahmadinejad barred from running in election

US urges UN council to focus on 'incredibly destructive' Iran

Iran bans live election debates