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Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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OPEC Wants To Extend Oil Production Cuts Until June

OPEC is inclined to extend the ongoing production cuts at least through June and could discuss deeper cuts if need be, OPEC sources told Reuters on Tuesday, as oil prices continue to slide on fears that the coronavirus outbreak in China will impact oil demand.

OPEC is very likely to extend until June the current cuts, which expire in March, one source in OPEC told Reuters, while another added that “A further extension is a strong possibility and a deeper cut is a possibility.”

The cartel could also consider rolling over the cuts as-is until the end of the year, or even deepen the cuts if the demand destruction turns out to be significant, according to the sources.

Even Russia—which has always been OPEC’s reluctant partner agreeing to rollover of the cuts at each OPEC+ meeting at the very last moment and which is said to want out after March—is reportedly considering staying in the pact if oil prices continue to be below $60 a barrel.

Oil prices have dropped by around 10 percent since the first reports of the deadly coronavirus came out of China last week.

Early on Tuesday, oil prices were on track for a sixth consecutive day of losses, with WTI Crude trading below $53 and Brent Crude barely hanging to the $58 a barrel handle.

On Monday, OPEC’s leader Saudi Arabia tried to jawbone the market higher, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) chimed in to downplay what it called a “market over-reaction” over fears that the virus will erode oil demand in China—the world’s largest oil importer and main oil demand growth driver.

Related: OPEC Considers Deeper Oil Cuts Amid Virus Market Meltdown

But while the leading OPEC producers downplayed fears of crippled demand growth in an attempt to calm the oil market, the cartel was said to be considering extending the production cuts or even deepening them to stave off excessive price slides due to the coronavirus outbreak in China, an OPEC source told S&P Global Platts on Monday.

OPEC and its Russia-led non-OPEC partners are meeting in early March to decide how to proceed with the cuts. OPEC members were already said to be discussing a potential extension of the oil production cuts through the end of 2020, because of the still bearish outlook on oil demand growth, an OPEC source told Russian news agency TASS last week.   

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on January 28 2020 said:
    Extending the current production cuts through June or even until the end of the year if the market warrants it is fine. However, deepening the cuts will be a huge mistake because it will have no effect whatsoever on prices and it will lead to a loss of market share by OPEC.

    This hysteria about declining global demand for oil because of the coronavirus outbreak in China will soon subside given the very strict containment measures that the Chinese government is implementing.

    Therefore, OPEC should keep its cool and wait for the outbreak of the virus to be contained. Oil prices will soon recoup all their losses.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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