Friday, 26 May 2017

Oil price falls despite deal to extend output cut

The price of oil has fallen by about 5%, despite oil-producing nations agreeing to extend production cuts for a further nine months.

Meeting in Vienna, energy ministers from both Opec and non-Opec countries agreed to maintain output curbs, due to expire next month, until March 2018.

But investors had been hoping the oil producers would go further.

Brent crude fell $2.60 to $51.36 a barrel on Thursday, and was trading at $51.47 on Friday morning.

West Texas Intermediate slipped $2.58 to $48.78 a barrel on Thursday and had reached $48.82 on Friday.
Saudi Arabia's energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, who co-chaired the meeting with his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak, said: "We considered various scenarios from six to nine to 12 months and we even considered options for higher cuts.

"All indications are solid that a nine-month extension is the optimum, and should bring us to within the five-year average of inventories by the end of the year."

Opec countries and 11 other oil-producing nations, including Russia, first agreed to reduce production last December in an effort to boost flagging prices.

The reduction was almost 1.8 million barrels per day - equivalent to about 2% of global oil production.

Analysts criticised Opec's failure to make deeper cuts to production.

Chris Beauchamp at online trading firm IG, described Mr Falih's belief that greater reductions were not needed as "quaint", while Alexandre Andlauer of equity research firm Alphavalue said Opec's strategy was "old-fashioned".

Neil Wilson at ETX Capital said Opec members "bottled it", adding: "A nine-month extension just isn't enough to really lift oil prices as we'll continue to see US shale fill the gap. Having said they'd do whatever it takes, Opec is looking a bit toothless now.

"Faced with kind of glut and the scale of the market, the cartel would be better off cutting a lot deeper but for less time than trying to prolong fairly timid cuts."

Gary Ross, head of global oil at PIRA Energy, part of S&P Global Platts, said: "Russia has an upcoming election and Saudis have the Aramco share listing next year, so they will indeed do whatever it takes to support oil prices."

BBC      News.