OPEC Seeks Supply Consensus Before November Summit

OPEC Seeks Supply Consensus Before November SummitOPEC Seeks Supply Consensus Before November Summit

Oil producers are working to build consensus on extending their deal to reduce supplies, OPEC’s secretary-general said on Thursday, with the potential for continuation throughout 2018 forming a basis for talks.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, plus Russia and nine other producers, are cutting oil output by about 1.8 million barrels per day until March 2018 to eradicate a supply glut that has weighed on prices, Reuters reported.

The deal has supported prices, which are trading within sight of a two-year high, but an overhang of stored oil has yet to be fully eradicated and producers are considering extending the deal at their next meeting on Nov. 30. OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo, in a briefing with reporters on Thursday, said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suggestion this month that the deal could be extended to the end of 2018 was being taken seriously.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, the OPEC president, and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak “are taking cue from the open statement of President Putin and engaging the rest of the participating countries ... to build consensus before Nov. 30”, Barkindo said.

On Wednesday, OPEC sources said, producers are leaning toward extending the deal for a further nine months, though the decision could be postponed until early next year depending on the market.

Barkindo said it was not yet clear if the decision would be made on Nov. 30, but added that Falih and Novak would consult and decide whether another meeting could be held in early 2018.

“It is difficult to say at the moment what will be decided in November. It will depend on a number of factors, chief among which is how far are we from achieving our objective of a convergence of supply and demand.”

Falih and Novak are also talking to producers not currently participating in the supply cut, Barkindo added.  Earlier in the day, Barkindo said the supply pact was helping speed the balancing of the crude market.  “There is no doubt that this market is rebalancing at an accelerating pace,” he said in a speech at the Oil & Money conference in London. "Stability is steadily returning and there is far more light at the end of the dark tunnel we have been traveling down for the past three years.”

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