OPEC agrees to produce slightly more oil as recession fears loom
London (CNN Business)The world’s oil-exporting countries have agreed to a tiny increase in output next month amid fears that a global recession will crimp demand.
The Organization of the Oil Exporting Countries and its allies — which includes Russia — also known as OPEC+, said on Wednesday that it would produce an additional 100,000 barrels a day in September.
This was the first OPEC meeting since US President Joe Biden visited Saudi Arabia last month. Biden urged the country — which is the group’s biggest oil producer — to start pumping more.
For months, prices have climbed as Western embargoes on Russian oil have limited global supply. Those prices have helped the world’s biggest oil companies reap record profits, even as millions face surging fuel bills.
A gallon of regular gasoline in the United States surpassed $5 for the first time in June, though prices have fallen back significantly since then.
The price of Brent crude, the global benchmark, also hit a high of $139 a barrel in March in the days after Russia invaded Ukraine, but Brent is now trading at around $100 as traders fear a global recession will hurt demand.
Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate crude — the North American benchmark — both rose initially on Wednesday after OPEC’s announcement, as oil investors expected a bigger increase in production. But prices fell about 2% by midday.
“As a production rise it is a very small percentage of overall production, and much smaller than previous months increases, and thus makes little difference to the overall supply picture,” Hazel Seftor, senior research analyst for global oil supply at Wood Mackenzie, told CNN Business.
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