Vienna: The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) agreed to keep oil production quotas unchanged and will meet again on 28 May to review targets, ministers said after Sunday’s meeting in Vienna.
“We decided to leave this unchanged and now it is time to fully adhere to the cuts we agreed upon,” said Qatari oil minister Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah.
Opec met in Vienna on Sunday to discuss possible action to revive prices that remain $100 (Rs5,170) below July’s record even after a record production cut agreed on in December. Oil futures have risen 3.7% this year to finish last week at $46.25 a barrel in New York.
Clearing the air: Igor Sechin, Russia’s deputy PM and head of the country’s delegation, arrives prior to the meeting in Vienna on Sunday. Adam Berry / Bloomberg
Algerian oil minister Chakib Khelil, who had argued for another cutback prior to the meeting, said afterwards that all Opec members will make an extra effort to comply with the existing cutbacks. Finishing those cuts will remove about 800,000 barrels a day from the market, he said. Oil prices will not rise a lot from Sunday’s decision, he added.
The crude oil production target for 11 Opec members bound by quotas is 24.85 million barrels a day, while actual output from those countries averaged 25.715 million barrels a day in February, according to an Opec report published on 13 March.
Ahead of the meeting, Khelil had said there would be a “consensus” to cut production. “The market expects a cut between 0.5 and 1.5 million barrels per day,” added Khelil, who was Opec president last year.
Opec has already slashed its output three times since September as crude prices slumped in line with a global economic downturn.
In remarks published Sunday, Saudi oil minister Ali Naimi had argued that fresh production cuts would not help revive the global economy. “Any new reduction in the cartel’s production would lead to an increase in the oil price and prevent any contribution to reviving the global economy,” he told Saudi-owned daily Al-Hayat. Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest oil exporter and de facto leader of the cartel.
Meanwhile, Russia said it has discussed sending a permanent observer to Opec, deputy premier Igor Sechin told the meeting of Opec ministers.
Russia rivals Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer and has been deeply impacted by the plunging prices that are now at about $45 a barrel.
“We have discussed the issue of having a permanent representative of the Russian Federation to the Opec’s secretariat,” Sechin said in an address.
“In September last year, we initiated regular energy dialogue between Russia and Opec as the key players on the global energy market.
“We prepared a memorandum between the Russian ministry of energy and Opec that made a provision for a gradual development of the cooperation between us,” Sechin said.
Russia is not a member of Opec and prizes its independence. But it was attending as an observer at the meeting. In recent months, Moscow has coordinated production cuts with Opec in a bid to stabilize plummeting oil prices.
Rolan Jackson of AFP contributed to this story.