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OPEC+ Considers Production Increase At March Meeting

OPEC+ will discuss the possibility of increasing its oil production levels at the next meeting, OPEC+ sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

The group is set to meet on March 4, where it will discuss raising output as much as a half a million barrels per day starting in April, the sources said.

OPEC+ members are currently suppressing oil production by more than 7 million barrels per day, but with oil prices now on the rise and the markets getting the idea that the market could be tightening, OPEC+ may consider loosening the reins.

The last Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee Meeting of OPEC+ met in the first week of February ended without many surprises. For the month of February, another 75,000 bpd was added to the quotas—65,000 bpd to Russia and 10,000 bpd to Kazakhstan. For the month of March, production quotas were eased again by another 75,000 bpd—again to Russia (65,000 bpd) and Kazakhstan (10,000 bpd).

But Saudi Arabia had announced in January that in February and March, it would voluntarily cut an additional 1 million bpd from its quota.

Saudi Arabia has not committed to cutting this additional million barrels beyond March, so it’s very possible that this OPEC+ meeting will end with an additional 1.5 million barrels added into the mix: an additional 500,000 bpd added to the production quotas, and an additional million bpd from Saudi Arabia.

The oil markets have improved in recent weeks, with crude oil inventories in the world’s most visible oil market, the United States, finally returning to its five-year average. The price of Brent oil has rebounded to more than $67 per barrel, with WTI traded above $63 as of Wednesday afternoon. This is the highest level oil prices have seen in over a year.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on February 25 2021 said:
    With its brilliant handling of the global oil market and prices, I am sure that OPEC+ will assess the market correctly in its meeting on March 4 and adjust its production cuts to ensure that a demand-supply balance exists in the market.

    If it judged the global oil demand and prices are firm and sustainable it may then decide to ease the cuts a little.

    Trends in the market suggest that global oil demand and prices have a long way to go with Brent crude price projecting to hit $70-$80 a barrel in the third quarter of 2021 if not earlier.

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

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