Al-Falih: Only Russia undecided on OPEC deal extension

Moscow has yet to agree to an extension of an OPEC+ deal, over disputes as to how much production the country should cut for fear of ceding market share to the US. Above, Khalid Al-Falih and Alexander Novak. (Reuters)
Updated 10 June 2019

Al-Falih: Only Russia undecided on OPEC deal extension

  • Khalid Al-Falih, in Moscow for talks with counterpart Alexander Novak, said there was disagreement in Russia over prolonging the pact at an upcoming meeting in Vienna
  • Igor Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft, warned against extending the deal, saying it posed a strategic threat to Moscow by allowing the US to take Russia’s market share

MOSCOW: Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Monday Russia was the only oil exporter undecided on extending an output deal between OPEC and its allies until the end of the year.
Al-Falih, in Moscow for talks with counterpart Alexander Novak, said there was disagreement in Russia over prolonging the pact at an upcoming meeting in Vienna.
“I think the remaining country to jump onboard is Russia. I will wait for them to work it out,” he said.
“There is a debate in the country about the volume Russia should be producing in the second half.”
President Vladimir Putin said last week that Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries disagreed over what constituted a fair oil price, but that they would decide at the meeting.
Igor Sechin, chief executive of Rosneft, warned against extending the deal, saying it posed a strategic threat to Moscow by allowing the US to take Russia’s market share.
Al-Falih said he may have another opportunity to talk to Novak at a G20 meeting in Japan beforehand.
Despite Russian indecision over the deal, known as the “OPEC+ Agreement,” signals from Moscow suggest an extension could work.
There is a still a risk oil producers pump too much crude and prices fall, Novak said on Monday, suggesting he might support an extension of output cuts at a meeting of leading oil producers next month.
“This is not ruled out. A lot depends on the market in the third quarter, on the supply and demand balance,” he said, citing the effect of US-led trade wars and sanctions.
“There are big risks of over-production. But we need to analyze deeper and look at how events will develop in June in order to take a balanced decision at the joint OPEC+ meeting in July.”
Al-Falih said the OPEC+ group was working to take “preventive” measures to avoid sharp oil price declines.
Separately, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said oil prices could fall as low as $30 per barrel if OPEC and others did not extend the curbs.


Lufthansa cabin crew union stages all-day strike at smaller airlines

Updated 20 October 2019

Lufthansa cabin crew union stages all-day strike at smaller airlines

  • There is escalating row over workers’ pay and pensions
  • The cabin crew union has for months fought with the airline in court over UFO’s legal status

FRANKFURT: German flight attendants’ union UFO on Sunday said it would stage an all-day strike at smaller German divisions of airline group Lufthansa in an escalating row over workers’ pay and pensions.
The walkout at Lufthansa brands Germanwings, Eurowings, Lufthansa City Line and Sunexpress had initially been scheduled for 0300-0900 GMT but the union in a statement on Sunday said industrial action would now be extended until midnight local time (2200 GMT), citing threats made by the airline over jobs as reason.
A Lufthansa spokesman said the strike was illegal because UFO’s status as a negotiator on behalf of staff was in doubt.
Lufthansa on Friday had offered a 2 percent pay rise to cabin staff, prompting the union to call off a planned strike at Lufthansa’s namesake core brand at hubs Frankfurt and Munich.
But the dispute deteriorated after UFO found the offer lacked concessions on expenses and employment conditions.
The cabin crew union has for months fought with the airline in court over UFO’s legal status. Lufthansa claims the union’s new leadership team that took office earlier this year was not elected in a way that met legal requirements.