The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) was on Saturday seeking to persuade other oil producers to lower production as part of a newly-struck global pact to stem a crude glut and lift painfully low prices. The Vienna meeting, which includes major producer Russia, aims to nail down details on implementing the accord reached late last month.
Analysts however remained divided over the gathering’s impact as doubts lingered regarding countries’ willingness to freeze output. “We do not expect the outcome of this meeting to play a significant role in rebalancing the oil market,” Vienna-based analyst group JBC Energy said.
Opec had agreed on November 30 to lower its monthly output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to 32.5 million bpd as of January. Under the deal, OPEC also wants oil-producing nations outside the group to lower their output by 600,000 barrels a day.
Arriving shortly before the start of the talks, cartel chief Mohammed Barkindo of Nigeria expressed optimism about the chances of reaching an agreement to cut output by 600,000 bpd “and even more”.
“This is a very historic meeting due to the presence of Opec and non-Opec members,” he said. “The political atmosphere has changed.”
Moscow — the world’s largest oil producer along with Opec kingpin Saudi Arabia — has already signalled that it would provide half of that production cut in the first half of 2017. Speaking to reporters before the meeting, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Moscow would hold to its commitment.
“We have stated our obligations and will abide by the figures we have talked about,” he was quoted as saying by Russia’s Interfax news agency. “For the non-OPEC countries gathered here, I think it will be about 600,000 tonnes in total.”
Meanwhile Kuwait’s prime minister formed a cabinet on Saturday that includes a new oil, electricity and water minister. Marzouk, a member of a merchant family, was a board member in national
oil conglomerate Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and also the head of the Kuwait Bourse Company.