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OPEC+ Expected To Keep October Output Quota Flat

OPEC+ is expected to keep its October crude oil production target stable from the September quota when the group meets on September 5 to review oil market conditions, a majority of 19 industry observers polled by Bloomberg said.

A total of 15 of the 19 experts surveyed expect the producer group to keep the oil output target for October at the same level as in September when they meet next week. 

In August, Saudi Arabia floated the idea of new production cuts as the Energy Minister of OPEC’s top producer, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, said that OPEC+ was ready to cut production at any time in any form if it believes it would bring stability to the “schizophrenic” oil market.  

After the Saudi signal, OPEC’s rotating president for this year, Congo’s Hydrocarbons Minister Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua, also expressed support for potential cuts. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has similar views to Saudi Arabia on the crude oil markets, a source familiar with the UAE’s thinking told Reuters last week. 

Some other OPEC+ producers, including Iraq, Venezuela, and Kazakhstan, have also signaled support for new production restrictions.

However, OPEC+ is more likely to keep quotas flat for October until it sees how the negotiations on the so-called Iranian nuclear deal would continue, industry observers told the Bloomberg survey. 

Other key factors for OPEC+ to watch in the coming days and weeks include estimates of global oil demand in the third and fourth quarters, as well as the oil supply from a key OPEC+ member, Russia. Exports from Russia have been very resilient so far, contrary to initial apocalyptic expectations of a 3-million-bpd supply loss. However, the EU embargo on seaborne Russian crude and fuel imports, set to come into full force in early 2023, could reduce Russian supply to the market if the volumes don’t find a home in Asia by then.  

At the early August meeting, OPEC+ decided to slightly raise the collective target for September by just 100,000 bpd. Yet, the group was last estimated to be 2.9 million bpd below their collective oil production target in July.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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