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Global Energy Advisory September 30th 2016

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

• OPEC has, against expectations, agreed to freeze its oil output in a much-awaited move to do something deliberate to rebalance oil markets. However, skepticism remains rife as, first, the final decision should be made two months from now, and second, the members of the organization still need to agree individual quotas to achieve the new ceiling of 32.5-33 million bpd. That’s not a huge reduction, since the current rate at which OPEC pumps oil is estimated at around 33.24 million bpd, while the global glut is more than half a million barrels, and closer to 760,000 bpd according to OPEC estimates. The quotas will be discussed at the November 30 meeting of the cartel in Vienna, by which time Iran, which was the main opponent to a quick deal now, may have ramped up its output to 4 million bpd or above, reinforcing doubts about the point of an output freeze. Iran, Libya and Nigeria will not be among those OPEC countries who take cuts, and with new supply entering the market from all three, the suggested cuts do not seem feasible as stated.

• A referendum in Azerbaijan has extended the presidential term from five to seven years, solidifying the position of incumbent Ilham Aliev, son of the country’s long-term leader Heydar Aliev. Ilham Aliev can now theoretically rule the oil-rich Central Asian state until his death, as the rule for a set maximum number of terms in office was revoked at an earlier referendum…

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