By Arab News
By Frank Kane
Saudi Arabia and Russia have reached agreement on extending their oil output cuts and are taking a firm line with other producers to keep their pledges.
Ahead of a meeting of OPEC+, the two biggest producers in the alliance are telling others they must adhere to agreed production guidelines or risk a return to the market chaos of April, when some oil prices hit all-time lows.
An official at one Opec delegation told Arab News an agreement was in place between Saudi Arabia and Russia to extend the historic 9.7 million barrel cuts deal for at least one month, with a regularly monthly review— but it was contingent on all OPEC+ countries keeping their promises on current production levels.
“There is no dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia on this,” the official said. “They are sticking by the rules, and they want to put pressure on to make all OPEC+ members do the same.”
Most other OPEC+ countries are believed to be willing to stick by the April cuts for an extended period. Nigeria and Iraq are considering the proposals for stronger compliance.
A “virtual” OPEC+ meeting could still go ahead at short notice, or could take place on June 9 as originally scheduled. Saudi Arabia has additional bargaining leverage in the 1 milion extra barrels it cut voluntarily, which could be reinstated at the end of this month
Crude prices, which topped $40 a barrel for Brent this week partly on hopes that the cuts would be extended, reflected the late uncertainty, and slipped back to just over $39.
Oil experts do not expect the negotiations over compliance to derail a long term OPEC+ deal. “Compliance is always an issue, but all will want to avoid any instability,” said Robin Mills, chief executive of Qamar Energy consultancy. “It’s quite an achievement to get to $40 from where they were a few weeks ago.”