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Some Oil Producing Nations Agree to Cut Production 10%

Some Oil Producing Nations Agree to Cut Production 10%

Oil-producing nations led by Russia, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia reached an unprecedented agreement on Sunday to cut oil production by 9.7 million barrels per day, or nearly 10 percent of what is currently produced, as The New York Times reported.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered lockdowns around the world, the demand for oil has plummeted nearly 35 percent, causing huge surpluses in oil supply and deep drops in the price of crude oil, which fell to 18-year lows. The new agreement to slash oil production starting in May is twice the size of the cuts agreed to during the global financial crisis 12 years ago and signals a truce in a growing price war between Russia and OPEC’s de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, according to The Guardian.

The alliance, called OPEC+, includes OPEC members as well as non-members like Russia and Mexico, but not the U.S. The deal was struck after marathon negotiations and concessions made to Mexico, which held up the deal. Mexico opposed the amount it was being asked to cut, but finally agreed to cut 100,000 barrels per day, instead of its initial allocation of 400,000 barrels per day, according to NBC News.

The deal means oil producers will drop their production in May and June and then steadily increase it again until the deal expires in two years. That also means that most Americans will actually see the price of gasoline go up, leaving some to wonder why a U.S. president would broker a deal that will make Americans pay more at the pump, according to POLITICO. It seems Trump was spurred by the U.S. shale oil industry, which asked for help after oil prices dropped to an 18-year low. The industry has been amongst his most loyal supporters.

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Slash Oil Output Or Else! Senate Bill Would Remove US Troops From Saudi Arabia In 30 Days

Slash Oil Output Or Else! Senate Bill Would Remove US Troops From Saudi Arabia In 30 Days

A new bill has been introduced in the Senate which if passed would punish Saudi Arabia over failure to cut oil production by removing all US troops from the kingdom within 30 days

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced it after Louisiana and other states have been impacted by the ongoing OPEC+ crisis and price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. As of Friday OPEC+ appears to be closing in on a deal which would see a production cut of 10 million barrels a day, which S&P Global Platts still warned “isn’t enough to plug the 15- to 20-million b/d near-term imbalance in the marketplace and avoid tank tops in May.”

Sen. Cassidy’s bill would also impose tariffs on all Saudi oil imports within ten days of enactment, also aiming to ensure prices would not dip to below $40 a barrel.

American forces arrive at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia in June 2019, via US Air Force.

“The extra oil from Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, has made it impossible for energy companies in the United States, the world’s top oil and gas producer, to compete, Cassidy said,” as cited in Reuters.

The Republican senator noted of the long-term close US-Saudi partnership: “Withdrawing troops placed to protect others recognizes that friendship and support is a two-way street.”

“Our nation’s economy, national security and the economic welfare of families across Louisiana is threatened by oil being dumped on the world market at below-production costs. The US spends billions protecting other oil producing countries and their ability to safely transport oil around the world. Now is the time to protect ourselves. Tariffs will restore fair pricing,” said Cassidy

The bill would also ensure defense funds cannot go to maintaining American troops on Saudi soil. 

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Oil Turns Negative After Russia, Saudis Agree To Cap Output At 8.5MM B/D For 2 Months

Oil Turns Negative After Russia, Saudis Agree To Cap Output At 8.5MM B/D For 2 Months

Update (1350ET): What started off euphorically, has quickly become R-OPEC’s latest dud, with oil now sliding red on the day after earlier surging more than 10%, following the latest news out of the oil producerteleconference, according to which Russia and Saudi Arabia agree to cap production to 8.5MM b/d, indicating a production cut of about 23% each, and which will last for just two months, May and June. 

Furthermore, as Iran’s oil minister explains, the total cut of 10MMb/d (which will include several non Russia/Saudi producers) will ease to 8MMb/d in July and then after Jan 2021, the cut will decline to just 6 million b/d production cut.

In a nutshell, R-OPEC is hoping for two things: i) oil demand will rebound after the summer and the oil market will stabilize organically as the global economy recovers from the coronavirus and ii) the US and other G20/non-OPEC producers join the cuts voluntarily, which however is far from assured.

Meanwhile, even with the 10mm b/d cut (which is really about 7 millions if one uses Saudi Arabia’s Feb production numbers) will be nowhere near enough to offset the global demand plunge which according to industry watchers such as Trafigura is as large as 35mmb/d!

And now that the initial euphoria has worn off and traders are able to do math again – and realize that the cuts are not nearly enough – oil has slumped and was trading in the red last as once again, OPEC has failed to live up to the hype.

Finally, as a reminder, here is why Goldman believes that after today’s pomp and circumstance, oil is still going to $20:

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Oil Spikes After Russia Says Ready For “Substantial Output Cut”, But Warns 10MMb/d Cut Not Enough

Oil Spikes After Russia Says Ready For “Substantial Output Cut”, But Warns 10MMb/d Cut Not Enough

Over the weekend, following the biggest ever oil short-squeeze in history following rampant hopes that Saudi Arabia and Russia were considering putting their differences aside and cutting up to 10mmb/d in oil output, we said that in a world where oil demand has plunged by as much as a quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic, or as much as 26mmb/d, such a cut would “not be nearly enough to balance the oil market but at least it was a start.”

Then, moments ago, oil which had been drifting in Monday’s session after the report that a new burst of animosity between Saudi Arabia and Russia has pushed back today’s virtual R-OPEC meeting to later in the week, oil spiked after a Reuters rehash of headlines over the past 3 days, namely that Russia is ready to discuss very substantial oil output cuts “due to global demand collapse“, but – just as we warned over the weekend – Russia dded that “global oil output cuts of 10mmbpd might not be enough to balance the market.”

Well, yeah: with demand down 26mmb/d, supply would have to drop by a similar amount to balance the market.

As a result, Dow Jones reported separately that Saudi Arabia has also invited non-OPEC member Norway, UK and Brazil to the summit in hopes of getting everyone nation to agree to cut output, not just R-OPEC and potentially US shale producers. And as DJ also added citing sources, according to OPEC Plus – which now hopes to hold its summit on Friday – the output cuts would be contingent on G-20 cooperation. In short, while Saudi Arabia destroyed OPEC when it flooded the world with oil last month, it now hopes to not only recreate the oil producing cartel to include every single oil producing nation in the world but to convince said cartel to ease production.

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OPEC Agrees To 1.5MM Barrel Output Cut, But Fails To Obtain Critical Russian Backing

OPEC Agrees To 1.5MM Barrel Output Cut, But Fails To Obtain Critical Russian Backing

Today’s OPEC meeting has been more of a stunt by members to persuade Russia to agree to deep cuts amid a demand shock triggered by the Covid-19.

Ministers from OPEC agreed on a large cut of 1.5 million barrels per day in the second quarter to support prices but made it conditional on Russia joining in, said two OPEC sources, who were cited by Reuters.

Brent crude futures have soared between 6-10% in the last four sessions on OPEC+ JMMC technical committee recommendation, which stated cuts between 750,000 to 1 million barrels per day are needed to stabilize prices. Demand destruction from China and aboard has been one of the most significant shocks to hit global oil markets since the financial crisis a decade ago.

Reuters notes that Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in OPEC, has yet to win the support of Russia agreeing on the cuts. 

But that didn’t stop the algos bidding oil higher…

Moscow, which has worked with OPEC+ since 2016 to balance supply, has so far withheld its support for a reduction in output.

Russia’s energy minister left OPEC meetings in Vienna on Wednesday, expected to return on Friday for more in-depth talks.

“Our expectation is that OPEC+ will deliver a credible and coherent strategy that will take more barrels than what’s priced into the market off the table,” Mitsubishi UFG’s Ehsan Khoman told Reuters.

Russia could capitulate on Friday, as it has done everything so far to drag out production cut talks. Still, as we noted yesterday, “Russia will decide on production cuts at the very last minute.”

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Saudis Urge More Than 1 Million Bpd Oil Cut To Prop Up Prices, Russia Opposes

Saudis Urge More Than 1 Million Bpd Oil Cut To Prop Up Prices, Russia Opposes

Update (0800ET): The Wall Street Journal reports that Russia opposes the Saudi plan to deepen OPEC+ cuts by 1.2mm b/d.


*  *  *

As we detailed earlier, Brent crude futures were up 75 cents, or 1.45%, at 52.61 a barrel at 0700ET Wednesday after a three-day move of +10%, following expectations that major oil producers could make significant production cuts at the OPEC meeting on March 5. 

Brent has tumbled into a bear market, down 26.5% in 38 sessions, following the outbreak of Covid-19 in China, now spreading across the world, has slashed global oil demand.

“This is a sudden, instant demand shock,” said Jim Burkhard, vice president and head of oil markets at IHS Markit Ltd.

“The scale of the decline is unprecedented.”

OPEC+ Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, the body that oversees production, will meet on Wednesday, ahead of the formal meeting, to discuss cuts. Saudi Arabia is urging OPEC+ to come to an agreeance ahead of Thursday for a reduction of 1 million barrels per day to compensate for lost demand seen by the virus crisis, Bloomberg notes. 

“The recommended 600,000-barrel-a-day additional cut for the second quarter of 2020 will be seen as too little,” Mohammad Darwazah of consultant Medley Global Advisors said in a note. “It is clear that the group is mulling a deeper production pullback.”

The push for deep cuts comes as crude had its worst weekly decline since the 2008 financial crisis on mounting macroeconomic headwinds developing because of the virus spread, which forced Saudi Arabia to demand Russia jump on board with production cuts. 

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Saudi Arabia Pushes For OPEC Production Cut Of Up To 1 Million B/d As Outbreak Weighs On Demand

Saudi Arabia Pushes For OPEC Production Cut Of Up To 1 Million B/d As Outbreak Weighs On Demand

Half of China’s economy – the second largest in the world – is expected to be offline through at least mid-February. Traders started pricing in the impact on oil demand weeks ago. And now that it’s become clear to everybody that this problem isn’t going away any time soon, and after oil prices recorded their largest monthly drop in 30 yearsOPEC might step in to ‘re-balance’ the global energy market.

Confirming earlier whispers, Saudi Arabia is reportedly pushing for a major, short-term oil production cut, WSJ reported Monday morning, citing anonymous OPEC officials.

A group of OPEC countries and their allies – collectively known as OPEC+ – are planning to meet Tuesday and Wednesday to debate possible action thanks to the outbreak in China, the world’s largest oil importer and consumer.

One scenario being discussed is that Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s kingpin, would lead a collective reduction of 500,000 barrels a day. The production cut will remain in place until the outbreak has subsided, cartel officials said.

Another, more drastic, option being considered would involve a temporary cut of 1 million b/d, a cut that would deliver a decisive ‘jolt’ to the market (and potentially trigger another flurry of angry Trump tweets about oil prices – the ‘invisible tax’ – being too high.

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Canada’s Crude Oil Production Cuts Are Unsustainable

Canada’s Crude Oil Production Cuts Are Unsustainable

Canada oil

In an attempt to combat a ballooning oil glut and dramatically plummeting prices, the premier of Alberta Rachel Notley introduced an unprecedented measure at the beginning of December when she is mandating that oil companies in her province cut production. This directive was particularly surprising in the context of Canada’s free market economy, where oil production is rarely so directly regulated.

Canada’s recent oil glut woes are not due to a lack of demand, but rather a severe lack of pipeline infrastructure. There is plenty of demand, and more than enough supply, but no way to get the oil flowing where it needs to go. Canada’s pipelines are running at maximum capacity, storage facilities are filled to bursting, and the pipeline bottleneck has only continued to worsen. Now, in an effort to alleviate the struggling industry, Alberta’s oil production has been cut 8.7 percent according to the mandate set by the province’s government under Rachel Notley with the objective of cutting out around 325,000 barrels per day from the Canadian market.

Even before the government stepped in, some private oil companies had already self-imposed production caps in order to combat the ever-expanding glut and bottomed-out oil prices. Cenovus Energy, Canadian Natural Resource, Devon Energy, Athabasca Oil, and others announced curtailments that totaled around 140,000 barrels a day and Cenovus Energy, one of Canada’s major producers, even went so far as to plead with the government to impose production caps late last year.

So far, the government-imposed productive caps have been extremely successful. In October Canadian oil prices were so depressed that the Canadian benchmark oil Western Canadian Select (WCS) was trading at a whopping $50 per barrel less than United States benchmark oil West Texas Intermediate (WTI). now, in the wake of production cuts, the price gap between WCS and WTI has diminished by a dramatic margin to a difference of just under $13 per barrel.

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IEA Chief Urges Oil Producers Not To Cut Output

IEA Chief Urges Oil Producers Not To Cut Output

oil terminal

While OPEC is considering cutting oil production again, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, called on Monday for ‘common sense’ because fresh cuts could have negative effects on the oil market.

“Currently markets are very well supplied but we should not forget that spare capacity in Saudi Arabia is very thin, therefore cutting the production significantly today by key oil producers may have some negative implications for the markets and further tightening the markets,” Reuters quoted Birol as saying at a news conference in Bratislava.

“My appeal to all producers and consumers across the world is to have common sense in these difficult days,” the IEA’s executive director said.

In its Oil Market Report for November published last week, the IEA said that surging production from the world’s biggest oil producers have more than offset Iranian and Venezuelan supply losses, while demand growth in some developing markets is slowing, pointing to a global oil oversupply next year.

Despite the implied surplus in oil supply next year, the IEA doesn’t see the oversupply as a threat to the markets.

“Although the oil market appears to be more relaxed than it was a few weeks ago, and there might be a sense of ‘mission accomplished’ that producers have met the challenge of replacing lost barrels, such is the volatility of events that rising stocks should be welcomed as a form of insurance, rather than a threat,” the IEA said in its report.

After the latest plunge in oil prices in recent weeks and after supply-demand analysis started to suggest that an oversupply may be building, OPEC and its de facto leader Saudi Arabia have started to hint at new production cuts, with speculation ranging from cuts of 1 million bpd to as much as 1.4 million bpd.

OPEC and allies meet in early December in Vienna, where they are set to discuss the state of the oil market and potential new oil production policies.

Saudis signal no push for oil cut as market to ‘stabilize itself’ | Reuters

Saudis signal no push for oil cut as market to ‘stabilize itself’ | Reuters.

(Reuters) – OPEC leader Saudi Arabia signaled on Wednesday it was unlikely to push for a major change in oil output at the producer group’s meeting this week, a day after Russia refused to cooperate in any production cut. Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said he expected the oil market “to stabilize itself eventually” but did not comment on talks with Russia held on Tuesday, which produced no firm pledge from Moscow to help support flagging oil prices.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said some OPEC members, although not Iran itself, were gearing up for a battle over market share and insisted that non-OPEC producers needed to participate in any OPEC-led output cut.

“The most important thing for all of us is the unity and solidarity of OPEC, and in this situation I believe we need to have the contribution of non-OPEC producers for managing the market,” Zangeneh told reporters.

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