Economy

OPEC decisions aren't shaped by Twitter: Russia

OPEC decisions aren't shaped by Twitter: Russia

If Russia contributed around 250,000 bpd, the overall cut could exceed 1.3 million bpd.

The so-called OPEC+ group of oil producers, which includes the traditional players in the oil cartel as well as non-OPEC countries such as Russian Federation, look set to agree on cutting oil production to help shore up prices, defying calls from US President Donald Trump to leave output unchanged and keep prices low.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters he had held a "good" meeting with his Saudi counterpart Khalid al-Falih on Wednesday and that they would have more talks. When some USA sanctions were lifted after President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, oil production in the country went up by about 1 million barrels a day to about 3.8 million barrels.

A pumpjack operates above an oil well at night in the Bakken Formation on the outskirts of Williston, North Dakota, U.S., on Thursday, March 8, 2018.

"We don't need permission from anyone to cut", Saudi minister Al-Falih said.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly pushed Saudi Arabia and OPEC to boost oil production in order to drive down crude prices.

The fall in the price of oil will be a help to many consumers as well as energy-hungry businesses, particularly at a time when global growth is slowing.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies are desperate to shore up oil prices after a slump of more than $20 a barrel since October.

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U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that "Hopefully OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted".

Crude prices have been falling since October because major producers - including the USA - are pumping oil at high rates, and due to fears that weaker economic growth could dampen energy demand.

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia, in particular, finds itself in an especially delicate position in the wake of the murder of opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"The big unknown is how President Trump will react to any production cuts", said analysts at ING.

In a sign of easing tensions between the world's two biggest economies, Chinese oil trader Unipec plans to resume United States crude shipments to China by March after the Xi-Trump deal at the G20 meeting reduced the risk of tariffs being imposed on these imports, people with knowledge of the matter said.

"The stakes are high now for OPEC".

On paper, the shift to net oil imports means that the USA is today energy independent, achieving a rhetorical aspiration for generations of American politicians, from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush. Whether to exempt Iran from making any cuts was one sticking point in the meeting, said a delegate. Delegates said details of how to share that out and the extent of the contribution from non-OPEC allies remained unresolved. It comes just three years after the United States ended a four-decade moratorium on exports of its crude oil. While it said it was purely a practical decision because it mainly produces natural gas and little oil, the move was viewed as a symbolic snub to the Saudi-dominated organization.


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