OPEC output decision delayed until Russian Federation talks

Oil Edges Up After Saudi Dithering on Cuts Sends Prices SwingingMore

OPEC ended talks in Vienna without a deal on oil production cuts, with the size of Russia's contribution remaining a sticking point before further talks on Friday. "Then more recently we've seen (US President) Trump encouraging Saudi Arabia to continue producing at a higher level to try and keep that oil price down". It fell further on Thursday after OPEC's lack of action and amid broader concerns about global economic growth.

Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia and chairman of Saudi Aramco, Khalid A Al-Falih recently spoke about reduced crude oil prices and mentioned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the vociferous leaders of various countries who pitched for lowering down the oil prices.

"They should know that OPEC is not part of their Secretary of Energy", said its minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh. USA senators say, after a briefing with intelligence services, that they are convinced Saudi Arabia's de-facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was involved in Khashoggi's death. It has wanted an exemption.

"If Mr. Hook has come to Vienna to apply for USA membership in OPEC, and this is the reason why he meets OPEC members, the request can be reviewed", Zangeneh told Shana news outlet.

"The impression that the group can't really come to a decision without first checking with Moscow is going to be hard for some members to swallow", said Derek Brower, a director at consultant RS Energy Group.

"I'm not confident", he added.

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Whatever the logic, the lack of clarity put another dent in the price of oil.

Although the market believes that wellhead economics offer attractive returns in many areas of the US shale patch even at $50 WTI Crude, the financial markets are not yet convinced that "a typical shale oil E&P is able to grow in a self-sourced manner", Rystad Energy said in an analysis last week.

OPEC began capping supply in partnership with Russian Federation and several other nations a year ago in order to end a punishing downturn in oil prices.

The problem for the OPEC is that it's de facto leader, Saudi, is facing significant pressure from the USA, its key western ally, not to cut oil production.

"They want OPEC to make a cut, and they kind of want Donald Trump to stop tweeting about oil". "The world does not want to see, or need, higher oil prices!" U.S. Senators say, after a briefing with intelligence services, that they are convinced that Saudi's de-facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was involved in Khashoggi's death.

Some experts say that gives the US some leverage over the Saudis, though Al-Falih denied that on Thursday.

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"We don't need permission from anyone to cut", Saudi minister Al-Falih said.

Experts say this week's meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will influence the price of oil over the coming months. How strongly it does so could depend on Russia's contribution.

Going in to the day he said Saudi Arabia was eyeing a cut of 1 million barrels per day as "adequate" to respond to recent declines in oil prices, with each country cutting an equal percentage.

With crude prices plunging because of oversupply, OPEC is under pressure to cut production, with analysts predicting the nations would decide on a decrease of at least 1 million barrels per day. He said an output cut of 1 million bpd could be sufficient, contradicting his previous assessment of 1.3 million bpd.

"The risk of OPEC+ not being able to agree on a deal was always very high and this will now pressurize prices significantly lower", said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. The alliance has transformed OPEC into a duopoly in which Russian Federation, which isn't a formal member of the cartel but part of the production-cuts alliance, is asserting its power. It comes just three years after the United States ended a four-decade moratorium on exports of its crude oil. In turn, the U.S. has become the world's top fuel supplier.

Negotiations between OPEC members are fraught, as some feel that Saudi Arabia wields too much clout in setting policy. Meanwhile, Qatar, a Saudi rival and Iranian ally, said this week it would leave OPEC in January.

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