By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Russia and Saudi Arabia will ask OPEC to increase oil output by 1.5 million barrels a day in the third quarter of 2018 to counter fears that U.S. sanctions on Iran could disrupt supplies.
Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak on June 16 said the move would begin on July 1 and initially only be for the upcoming third quarter, with a reevaluation to be done in early autumn.
“In September, we will review the situation in the market and decide the future course,” Novak said.
OPEC, Russia, and other noncartel nations — the so-called OPEC+ format — decided in 2016 to slash output by 1.8 million barrels a day to push prices up following a long slump caused by crude production glut.
Premium oil prices in early 2016 had plummeted below $30 a barrel. But after recovering and stabilizing around $50 a barrel in 2017, they soared this year to as high as $80 a barrel in London trading.
Potential U.S. sanctions on Iran and oil-output disruptions in crisis-hit Venezuela have led to concerns that prices could rise too far, thus encouraging other manufactures, such as shale-oil producers in the United States, to step up their output.
OPEC is set to meet on June 22 in Vienna to decide the future of the 2016 agreement, with Russia, Kazakhstan, and other non-OPEC partners due to join the meeting a day later.
Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14 said they had agreed to expand their cooperation on oil and
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, and the two nations’ energy ministers reached the agreement in Moscow before the two countries’ soccer teams vied in the first World Cup match, officials said.