Oil prices plummeted by 4% on Wednesday after OPEC officially confirmed that the OPEC+ meeting scheduled for this weekend would be postponed to November 30.
The U.S. benchmark, WTI Crude, crumbled by 4.37% to below $75 a barrel, to $74.55, while Brent Crude, the international benchmark, dived below the $80 a barrel threshold, at $79.12, down by 4.26% on the day.
The plunge in oil prices followed a brief statement from OPEC, which said today that the OPEC+ meetings, originally planned for November 25 and 26, 2023, have been rescheduled to Thursday, 30 November 2023.
Earlier today, prices started dropping after a Bloomberg report said that this weekend's meeting of the OPEC+ group could be delayed.
The November 26 meeting of the ministers of the OPEC+ alliance could be postponed due to Saudi Arabia expressing dissatisfaction over the production levels of the other members, delegates have told Bloomberg.
The meeting may be delayed, according to the anonymous delegates who told Bloomberg that the Saudis have been in talks with the other oil producers about their output.
After OPEC confirmed the report, the market turned very anxious about a potential new disagreement among the OPEC+ members about the production cuts and who would be willing or unwilling to reduce production alongside the Saudis.
Before the announcement of the delay, most analysts had expected that OPEC's top producer, Saudi Arabia, will extend its voluntary cut of 1 million barrels per day (bpd) into 2024, considering the latest slide in oil prices to $80 and the typically weak period for oil demand in the first quarter of every year. Market talk was also intensifying that OPEC+ could announce a deeper cut at the group's meeting in the weekend November 25-26.
The market is now questioning whether other OPEC+ producers would be willing to share some of the burden of the Saudi efforts to lift oil prices.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com