Russia has effectively reached its 300,000-bpd production cut target under its agreement with OPEC, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said. “Yesterday it was about 298,000 barrels. We can say that we have reached 300,000 barrels,” he told media on Friday.
The milestone comes none too soon, as Russia had promised to achieve this level by end April. Russia had undertaken the cut off its October daily average, which exceeded 11 million bpd in a bid to help OPEC’s efforts to rebalance the market and improve prices. Together, OPEC – bar Nigeria and Libya – and 11 non-OPEC producers agreed last November to take 1.8 million barrels from daily global supply.
However, these efforts have proved challenging, with global supplies actually rising during the first quarter of the year, despite hopes for the opposite and surprisingly high compliance. As Oil & Gas 360 noted in March, prior to the agreement, many countries increased production to record levels. This lessens the effect of any production cut, as the cuts are being made relative to the highest production levels in years.
As a result, despite Saudi Arabia cutting significantly more than it was supposed to and Iraq working its way up to its own target, OPEC is now discussing an extension of the agreement into the second half of the year. Related: Is Canada’s Oil Industry Regaining Momentum?
Russia is taking part in the discussions, Novak said last week, adding that a decision will be made after a meeting with OPEC on May 24, a day before the cartel’s annual meeting that should see an official announcement on the extension.
Meanwhile, shale output in the U.S. is rising and this is pressuring prices, fuelling pessimism that if the rate of output growth there continues, the OPEC extension would not have the desired effect.
At the same time, however, the International Energy Agency warned that unless investments in oil pick up soon, a deficit will emerge after 2020. Middle Eastern producers need higher oil prices for new investments, but shale producers are doing pretty well at US$50 a barrel, with breakeven prices across the shale plays averaging US$35 a barrel, according to data from Rystad Energy.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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