SEPTEMBER 12, 2017 – OPEC and its allies are discussing extending by more than three months the oil production cuts that expire in March 2018, potentially prolonging them well into the second half of next year in an effort to boost prices, according to people familiar with the matter.
OPEC and its allies are now discussing a further rollover ahead of a ministerial meeting scheduled for late November in Vienna, with a three-month extension seen as the minimum, the people said. The duration will depend on multiple variables, including the level of compliance with agreed cuts by OPEC and its allies, the pace of the oil-output recovery in Libya and Nigeria, U.S. shale supply and the strength of global demand.
OPEC’s own estimates, released Tuesday, show that even with demand for its oil likely to increase next year, the group won’t be able to reverse curbs on output if it wants to balance the market. The organization boosted its forecast for the amount of crude it needs to supply by 400,000 barrels a day to 32.8 million barrels in 2018, which remains in line with production last month.
The group’s total output dropped 79,100 barrels a day to 32.755 million a day in August amid a retreat in Libyan production, according to the report.
The cartel, which pumps four of every 10 oil barrels the world consumes, said that demand for its crude in the first and second quarters of 2018 will be lower than its current production, suggesting oil inventories will increase once again in the first half of next year. OPEC pegged demand for its crude at 31.8 million barrels a day in the first quarter, and at 32.4 million in the second quarter. That compares with current output of nearly 32.8 million barrels.
Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih last weekend discussed the potential extension of the deal with his counterparts from Venezuela, Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates. Al-Falih said longer-lasting curbs “would be considered in due course as market fundamentals may dictate.”