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Will The U.S. Shale Slowdown Save OPEC?

Russia and its OPEC partners in the production cut deal will take into account the slowing U.S. shale production growth at their December meeting to discuss the agreement, Russia’s Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin told news agency TASS in an interview published on Monday.

However, the Russian official was quick to add that it was too early to talk about a potential deepening of the oil production cuts because the production cut mechanism is not limitless.

“The OPEC+ mechanism has shown that it is efficient, but it cannot be efficient forever,” Sorokin told TASS, noting that Russia is monitoring the slowing growth in U.S. shale production.

There has been a significant slowdown in U.S. production growth over the past three-four months, Sorokin said, noting that drilling efficiency has basically stalled over the past two years.

Russia and its partners need to monitor the U.S. production trends at the current oil prices until December, the Russian official told TASS.

The OPEC+ partners are meeting on December 5 and 6 to discuss the production cut pact, amid mounting evidence that deeper cuts may be needed to rebalance the oil market amid faltering economic and oil demand growth.

OPEC and its non-OPEC partners are currently not discussing changing the terms of their agreement, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak said earlier this month.

Related: Pakistan’s New Energy Proposal Is A Double-Edged Sword

While Russia and Saudi Arabia reiterate their cooperation on the oil market, those leaders of the OPEC+ pact are not yet publicly expressing views that the coalition may need to deepen the cuts that currently expire in March 2020, in view of flagging global oil demand and weakening economies.

OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo is not ruling out the possibility of a deeper cut that could be discussed and/or decided at the end of this year.

All options are on the table, including a deeper cut from OPEC and its allies in December, Barkindo said in early October.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • shawn derikus on October 28 2019 said:
    OPEC isn't going to cut until oil is under $40 again next year. Shale is finally on the ropes and the last thing they want to do is throw it a lifeline.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on October 28 2019 said:
    Of course OPEC+ will take into account the accelerating slowdown in US shale oil production when they meet in December but we shouldn’t exaggerate the impact of US shale oil production on the global oil market and oil prices.

    What has been adversely impacting oil prices is the glut in the market which has been significantly augmented by the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

    OPEC+ would be making a huge mistake were they to decide to deepen the current production cuts in their meeting in December since such a move will prove futile costing OPEC+ loss of market share and not bolstering oil prices.

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

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