Opec offers no hope for end to oil slump as output target removed
December 05 2015 09:56 PM

Journalists listen to the opening speech of Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and President of the Opec Conference Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu leading the 168th meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries at its headquarters in Vienna on Friday. Opec members will keep pumping about 31.5mn bpd, Kachikwu said.


Opec has signalled no respite from the global oil glut that has driven prices to a six-year low.
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries will keep pumping about 31.5mn bpd, the group’s President Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said on Friday after a meeting of ministers in Vienna. Members set aside their previous daily output target of 30mn barrels, a ceiling breached for 18 months.
Opec will wait until June to decide on a new limit, secretary general Abdalla El-Badri said.
“Why should Opec alone sacrifice its part in the market,” Iraq’s Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi told reporters after the meeting. “Americans don’t have any ceiling, Russians don’t have any ceiling, why should Opec have a ceiling?”
Guided by its biggest producer Saudi Arabia, Opec has increased output in an oversupplied market in a bid to force higher-cost producers to scale back their operations. A proposal on Thursday from Venezuela for a 5% cut in the group’s production went nowhere as Iran joined the ranks of members refusing to accept any curbs.
“The volume-maximising strategy goes on for Opec,” said Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS Group in Zurich. “It’s at least better to give up a useless ceiling. The burden to adjust supply remains on non-Opec producers.”
Crude slumped about 38% in the last year, with global benchmark Brent crude headed for its lowest annual average in a decade after reaching a six-year low of $42.23 on August 24. Brent fell 1.9% to $43 a barrel on Friday, while West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 2.7% to $39.97.
“We will be looking at a teeter-totter market,” said Daniel Yergin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning oil historian and vice chairman of industry consultants IHS Inc. “US production is going down while Iranian production should be increasing.”
Failure to reduce the global oversupply could push oil prices $20 lower next year, Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino warned before the Opec meeting.
After Friday’s Opec decision “everyone does whatever they want,” said Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh. “I think there will be a decision about how to act on the market in the second quarter of 2016,” after Iran has restored some of its oil shipments, he said.
Iran won’t accept any production curbs until it restores about 1mn bpd of output after the removal of international sanctions next year over its nuclear programme, he said. Saudi Arabia said it didn’t feel obliged to cut production, which is running close to a record.

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