OPEC cuts 2020 oil forecast, urges effort to avert new glut

OPEC’s Secretary-General Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo. The group has cut its forecast for global oil demand in 2020, and has warned of a new glut on the horizon. (AFP)
Updated 12 September 2019

OPEC cuts 2020 oil forecast, urges effort to avert new glut

  • Saudi Arabia pumps less than quota as OPEC+ producers seek to keep market in balance

LONDON: OPEC on Wednesday cut its forecast for growth in world oil demand in 2020 due to an economic slowdown, an outlook the producer group said highlighted the need for ongoing efforts to prevent a new glut of crude.

In a monthly report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said oil demand worldwide would expand by 1.08 million barrels per day (bpd), 60,000 bpd less than previously estimated.

The weaker outlook amid a US-China trade war and Brexit could press the case for OPEC to maintain or adjust their policy of cutting output.

The report lowered OPEC’s forecast for world economic growth in 2020 to 3.1 percent from 3.2 percent and said next year’s increase in oil demand would be outpaced by “strong growth” in supply from rival producers such as the US.

“This highlights the shared responsibility of all producing countries to support oil market stability to avoid unwanted volatility and a potential relapse into market imbalance,” the report said.

OPEC, Russia and other producers, in an alliance called OPEC+, have since Jan. 1 implemented a deal to cut output by 1.2 million bpd. Despite the OPEC-led cut, oil has tumbled from April’s 2019 peak above $75, pressured by trade concerns and an economic slowdown.

The report said oil inventories in industrialized economies fell in July, a development that could ease OPEC concern over a possible glut.

Even so, stocks in July exceeded the five-year average by 36 million barrels.

OPEC and its partners have been limiting supply since 2017, helping to clear a glut that built up in 2014-2016 when producers pumped at will, and revive prices.

The policy has given a sustained boost to US shale and other rival supply, and the report suggests the world will need less OPEC crude next year.

Demand for OPEC crude will average 29.40 million bpd in 2020, OPEC said, down 1.2 million bpd from this year.

OPEC said its oil output in August rose, however, by 136,000 bpd to 29.74 million bpd according to figures the group collects from secondary sources. It was the first increase this year. Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Nigeria boosted supply.

Top exporter Saudi Arabia told OPEC that the Kingdom raised August output by just over 200,000 bpd to 9.789 million bpd. Saudi Arabia continues to pump far less than its quota of 10.311 bpd.

Thanks in part to Saudi restraint, producers are still over-complying with the supply-cutting deal. Losses in Iran and Venezuela, two OPEC members facing US sanctions, have widened the supply reduction. August’s increase, however, puts OPEC output further above the 2020 demand forecast.

The report suggests there will be a 2020 supply surplus of 340,000 bpd if OPEC keeps pumping at August’s rate and other things remain equal, more than the surplus forecast in last month’s report.


Crude prices surge as OPEC+ agrees to extend cuts

Updated 5 min 12 sec ago

Crude prices surge as OPEC+ agrees to extend cuts

  • The eagerly awaited gathering comes as oil exporters globally are hurt by low prices

DUBAI: Crude oil prices on Friday surged on international markets after the OPEC+ alliance, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, reached a deal to continue supply limits at their present historic level.

After a week of negotiation, a virtual meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was expected to take place on Saturday to formally seal the agreement to keep combined cuts at 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) for at least another month.

Last-minute worries about Iraq, which had held out over committing to its share of the cuts, were overcome with a pledge by Baghdad to stick to the agreed limits and to make up any shortfall in the coming months, according to an official from one of the OPEC delegate countries.

In a speech in Washington, D.C., US President Donald Trump praised the work of OPEC+ in rebalancing the oil market. “We saved that industry (US oil) in a short period of time, and you know who helped us? Saudi Arabia and Russia and others. We got them to cut back substantially,” he said.

The deal struck in April to cut an unprecedented 9.7 million bpd, reinforced by an extra 1 million bpd voluntary cut by Saudi Arabia and smaller amounts by the UAE and Kuwait, has been credited with pulling global oil markets back from the brink of collapse.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, jumped nearly 6 percent in European trading, to stand above $42 per barrel. Oil prices have more than doubled since “Black Monday” on April 20, when West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the American benchmark, fell briefly into negative territory largely because of trading technicalities.

WTI was trading at more than $39 on Friday, raising the possibility that some of the US production lost due to well shut-ins and corporate failures might come back onto the market.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman was due to address the OPEC+ meeting in his capacity as co-chairman of the joint ministerial monitoring committee (JMMC).

“The conditions right now warrant hopefully successful meetings. Coordination is under way to hold OPEC and OPEC+ meetings tomorrow afternoon,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman was quoted as saying by Reuters.

According to an official, the prince was expected to stress the need for vigilant monitoring by OPEC+ of supply limits.

UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei, urged producers to improve their compliance with agreed cuts.

“As a representative of the UAE, I find it disappointing and unacceptable that some of the largest producers with capacity like (Saudi Arabia) and Russia comply 100 percent or more while other major producers do less than 50 percent,” he wrote in the letter seen by Reuters.

Iraq and Nigeria have been regarded as the biggest laggards on compliance in the OPEC+ partnership, both arguing that their financial needs required them to sell as much oil as possible. Last week Nigeria indicated its willingness to adhere to the limits.

Wrangling with Iraq continued into Friday until a breakthrough was finally reached, and Baghdad promised to abide by the terms of the original deal and stick to compliance agreements.

Monthly meetings of OPEC’s JMMC will take place until the end of the year to monitor compliance levels among OPEC+ countries, and to assess the overall state of the market.

There has been no decision as yet on whether Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries will continue the extra 1 million bpd cuts, which could expire at the end of this month.

Oil-market sentiment was also lifted by a surprise fall in American unemployment, taken as a sign that the US economy could recover more strongly than expected.

Global oil exporters have come under intense pressure this year as the pandemic stifles the beginning of a recovery in energy investment that had started to materialize.

At the start of the year, global energy investment was expected to rise 2 percent in 2020, its biggest growth in six years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) had predicted. Instead, the Paris-based organization now expects global investment in energy to plunge by 20 percent this year — the equivalent of $400 billion.

 

(With Reuters)