OPEC+ likely to extend supply curb deal: Oman energy minister

OPEC, Russia and other oil producer allies — a group known as OPEC+ — have since January implemented an agreement to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day until March 2020 in an attempt to boost prices. (AFP)
Updated 11 November 2019

OPEC+ likely to extend supply curb deal: Oman energy minister

  • OPEC, Russia and other oil producer allies have since January implemented an agreement to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day until March 2020
  • Oil demand is improving as trade tensions soften and Oman is satisfied with current oil prices

ABU DHABI: OPEC and non-OPEC producers will probably extend a deal to limit crude supply but are unlikely to deepen cuts, Oman’s energy minister said on Monday, as the United Arab Emirates said it was not worried about long-term oil demand growth.
The Organization of the Exporting Producing Countries, Russia and other oil producer allies — a group known as OPEC+ — have since January implemented an agreement to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day until March 2020 in an attempt to boost prices. The group meets in December.
“Extension probably, cuts I think unlikely unless things happen in the next couple of weeks,” the energy minister of non-OPEC Oman, Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Rumhy, told reporters at an energy conference in the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi.
He said oil demand was improving as trade tensions soften and that Oman was satisfied with current oil prices, which fell more than 1 percent on Monday amid concerns over the prospects of a trade deal between the United States and China.
“All indications show things are getting better, the fear of recession, the signs of agreement between the US and China is positive,” Rumhy said.
Suhail Al-Mazrouei, the energy minister of the UAE, the third largest producer in OPEC after Saudi Arabia and Iraq, told the conference that oil demand growth was “reasonable.”
In its 2019 World Oil Outlook, the producer group said it would supply a diminishing amount of oil in the next five years as output of US shale and other rival sources expanded, despite a growing appetite for energy fed by global economic expansion.
“No one source or a group of sources will meet growth in demand,” OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said in a panel discussion at the Abu Dhabi conference.
He said the oil industry would have to adapt to future changes in the energy mix as global population growth raises demand outlook.
Rising climate activism in the West and widening use of alternative fuels are putting the strength of long-term oil demand under more scrutiny.
“The greener forms of energy will have a higher pace of growth but conventional oil and gas will also grow. Gas will grow more as there is a demand for cleaner forms,” Mazrouei said.


France ready to take Trump’s tariff threat to WTO

Updated 08 December 2019

France ready to take Trump’s tariff threat to WTO

  • Macron government will discuss a global digital tax with Washington at the OECD, says finance minister

PARIS: France is ready to go to the World Trade Organization to challenge US President Donald Trump’s threat to put tariffs on French goods in a row over a French tax on internet companies, its finance minister said on Sunday.

“We are ready to take this to an international court, notably the WTO, because the national tax on digital companies touches US companies in the same way as EU or French companies or Chinese. It is not discriminatory,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France 3 television. Paris has long complained about US digital companies not paying enough tax on revenues earned in France.

In July, the French government decided to apply a 3 percent levy on revenue from digital services earned in France by firms with more than €25 million in French revenue and €750 million ($845 million) worldwide. It is due to kick in retroactively from the start of 2019.

Washington is threatening to retaliate with heavy duties on imports of French cheeses and luxury handbags, but France and the EU say they are ready to retaliate in turn if Trump carries out the threat. Le Maire said France was willing to discuss a global digital tax with the US at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), but that such a tax could not be optional for internet companies.

“If there is agreement at the OECD, all the better, then we will finally have a global digital tax. If there is no agreement at OECD level, we will restart talks at EU level,” Le Maire said.

He added that new EU Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni had already proposed to restart such talks.

France pushed ahead with its digital tax after EU member states, under the previous executive European Commission, failed to agree on a levy valid across the bloc after opposition from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

The new European Commission assumed office on Dec. 1.