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COVID-19 Positive Russian Oil Minister Will Join OPEC+ Meeting

Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak will take part in the virtual meeting of the OPEC+ monitoring panel on Wednesday, despite testing positive for COVID-19, Russia’s energy ministry said on Tuesday.   

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that Novak had tested positive for the coronavirus while he was on a visit to Russia’s Far East. Novak returned to Moscow and will work remotely, the ministry said.

Novak feels good and doesn’t have any symptoms, and he plans to take part in the OPEC+ panel’s meeting on August 19 via video conference, a representative of the Russian energy ministry told Russian outlet RBC.

Prime Minister Mishustin and Vladimir Putin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov have recovered from COVID-19 after contracting the virus earlier this year.

The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) holds meetings every month until the end of 2020, instead of ahead of every full OPEC+ meeting only, because of the volatile oil market and the highly uncertain trajectory of global demand recovery.

The JMMC is meeting this week, but it will not discuss any revisions of the ongoing production cut pact and is not expected to make any major decisions to tweak the deal, Novak said last week.

The OPEC+ coalition saw its compliance rate with the oil production cuts at 95 percent in July, four sources from the group told Reuters on Monday, which is a level similar to the previous month, if the additional one-month voluntary cuts from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait for June are excluded.

At last month’s panel meetings in mid-July, the JMMC noted an improved compliance rate with the cuts. The overall compliance rate for the OPEC+ group was a record-breaking 107 percent in June, but it was due to the additional voluntary contributions from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, which cut a total of 1 million bpd in June on top of their shares of the cuts. Without those three voluntary outperformers, the OPEC+ group’s compliance was 95 percent in June, which still was the highest since the cuts started in January 2017.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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