Saudis See Oil Output Cuts Easing in 2019

Saudis See Oil Output Cuts Easing in 2019Saudis See Oil Output Cuts Easing in 2019

OPEC and its allies, including Russia, may next year ease the crude-output curbs that have helped prices recover from the worst crash in a generation, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said.

"With the market moving toward equilibrium and bloated inventories shrinking, the next step for global producers will be to phase out the reductions," Khalid Al-Falih told reporters in New Delhi on Saturday, Bloomberg reported.

"The nations taking part in the supply curbs are currently studying what a crude rebalancing will entail and announce their next steps once that’s analyzed."

Falih said the production curbs may be eased “sometime in 2019, but we do not know when and we do not know how".

“What we know is that it is going to be done in a way that it will not in any way disturb the balance and undo the hard work since 2016,” he said.

A deal between the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners aimed at reducing a global glut began in 2017 and runs through the end of this year.

With US production booming and the International Energy Agency predicting that expanding supply from non-OPEC countries may cover global demand growth for the next two years, speculation has increased over how long OPEC will have to curb supply.

Falih welcomed the rise in US production, saying that demand is seen remaining strong in 2018 and that the market will be able to absorb that supply.

While the US is pumping out record volumes, that’s being accompanied by a surge in exports, which has jumped to a four-month high. Even Saudi Arabia has considered shipping American crude abroad.

While countries involved in the production cuts are considering how to extend their partnership in coming years, keeping output constrained could be a challenge as the deal has shown some signs of strain.

Russian oil companies, eager to press on with new projects, have pushed for a swift end to the curbs, while OPEC members like Iraq, Iran and Libya are keen to expand capacity after years of lost revenues amid sanctions and conflict.

“The framework beyond 2018 is yet to be determined, but for sure from the Saudi and from the OPEC standpoint, there is a determination to translate the success of 2017 and 2018 into a lasting framework that allows us to avoid instability in the oil markets,” Falih said.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints