Saudi Arabia and Russia summoned OPEC+ ministers who oversee their oil production cuts for last-minute talks on Saturday, as the cartel prepares for a decision on whether to delay January’s output increase.
A clear majority of OPEC+ watchers expect the group to maintain their supply curbs at current levels for a few months longer due to lingering uncertainty about the strength of demand. However, the decision is by no means certain amid public complaints from Iraq and Nigeria, and private discord with the United Arab Emirates.
The two leading members of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak and Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman, requested an informal video conference with their counterparts from the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, which includes Algeria, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Nigeria and the UAE, according to a letter seen by Bloomberg.
The unscheduled gathering comes just two days before a full OPEC ministerial meeting on Nov. 30, which will be followed by OPEC+ talks on Dec. 1. The JMMC met online as recently as Nov. 17, but that ended without any kind of recommendation about delaying the January supply increase.
On Thursday, Algerian Energy Minister Abdelmadjid Attar — who this year holds OPEC’s rotating presidency — told Bloomberg News that the group must remain cautious because the recent surge in oil to $45 a barrel in New York this week could prove fragile.
A separate meeting of a committee of OPEC technical experts considered data that pointed to the risk of a new oil surplus early next year if the cartel and its allies decide to go ahead with the production increase. The 23-nation OPEC+ coalition is scheduled to ease its 7.7 million barrels a day of production cuts by 1.9 million barrels a day from Jan. 1.