Saudi Arabia is going to do whatever it takes to stabilize the oil market, but it can’t and won’t do it alone without a collective decision from the OPEC and non-OPEC deal participants, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Wednesday.
“We are going to ... do whatever is necessary, but only if we act together as a group of 25,” Reuters quoted al-Falih as telling reporters in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, referring to the 25 Saudi-led OPEC nations and Russia-led non-OPEC producers that have been tweaking oil production to stabilize the market for nearly two years.
Saudi Arabia and Russia steered the group in June to start pumping more oil to offset what was expected to be a steep drop-off of Iranian oil supply with the U.S. sanctions. But after the United States granted waivers to eight of Iran’s key oil buyers, oil prices began to slide, dragged down by fears of oversupply and of slowing global economy and oil demand growth.
Now the Saudis need higher oil prices than the current $60 Brent Crude, but Riyadh’s earlier idea of a sizeable decisive cut to be announced at the OPEC+ meeting next week could be trumped by President Trump’s recent comments about oil prices—“Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!”—and his support for the Kingdom and its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amid growing calls in the U.S. to punish the Saudis for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
“As Saudi Arabia we cannot do it alone, we will not do it alone,” al-Falih said on Wednesday, referring to a production cut, adding that “I think people know that leaving the market to its own devices with no clarity and no collective decision to balance the market is not helping.”
While Saudi Arabia is airing the idea of a new production cut, its key non-OPEC ally in the deal, Russia, is less convinced that it could take part in another reduction, or at least so it lets the market to believe.
Russia’s energy ministry is discussing potential oil production cuts with local producers and will continue talks to come up with a position by the OPEC/non-OPEC meeting in early December, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said last week. Another meeting with Russian oil companies was held on Tuesday, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing two sources who knew that such a meeting was taking place.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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