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OPEC: Further Cuts Off The Table

No further oil output cuts are on the agenda for the July meeting of the ministerial committee set up to monitor compliance with the OPEC-non-OPEC deal, the cartel’s secretary general Mohammed Barkindo told media at a news conference in Istanbul ahead of the World Petroleum Forum. According to Barkindo, any discussion of further cuts would be premature.

The comments follow an exciting week in terms of OPEC news. First, Russia said it sees no need for deeper cuts. Then, on Friday, Alexander Novak said Moscow is ready to take part in a revision of the deal if necessary, sparking hopes that deeper cuts may indeed be an option to consider.

The monitoring committee will meet on July 24 in Russia to discuss the progress of the deal. Last Friday, Novak noted that the committee can make any recommendation it wishes to the participants in the agreement. A recommendation, however, does not automatically mean a change in the deal.

Meanwhile, it seems that OPEC is thinking of putting a ceiling on the crude oil outputs of Libya and Nigeria, as rising production from these two OPEC producers exempt from the cuts is further complicating the cartel’s efforts to draw down oversupply and boost oil prices, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing OPEC delegates. Related: The Other Culprits Of The Oil Price Crash

“Nigeria is definitely becoming a worry for us,” a delegate to OPEC from a Persian Gulf Arab country told The Journal, while OPEC delegates from a few other nations have expressed similar concerns.

On Sunday, Bloomberg reported that Nigeria and Libya have been invited to the committee meeting in Moscow, citing Kuwait’s Oil Minister Issam Almarzooq as saying the two exempt OPEC members may be asked to join the production-cutting effort.

“If they are able to stabilize their production at current levels, we will ask them to cap as soon as possible. We don’t need to wait until the November meeting to do that.”

OPEC is hard pressed to find a way to make its deal work in the face of growing U.S. production and growing OPEC production, too. Asking Nigeria and Libya to join the cut is one obvious way to go, yet it remains uncertain how willing these two would be to stop expanding their output given their dependence on the commodity.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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