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OPEC+ unlikely to decide oil policy on Feb 1, will wait several weeks – sources

2024 01 26T120424Z 2 LYNXMPEK0P0DF RTROPTP 4 OIL OPEC - Global Banking | Finance

OPEC+ unlikely to decide oil policy on Feb 1, will wait several weeks – sources

By Ahmad Ghaddar, Alex Lawler and Olesya Astakhova

LONDON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – OPEC+ will likely decide its oil production levels for April and beyond in the coming weeks, OPEC+ sources said, adding that a meeting of a key ministerial panel next Thursday would take place too early to take decisions on further output policy.

Leading ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies led by Russia, known as OPEC+, will meet online. The panel, named the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC), can call for a full OPEC+ meeting or make recommendations on policy.

Five OPEC+ sources who declined to be named said the committee would probably not make any changes to existing policy during the meeting. One of them added the meeting would mainly discuss the group’s production levels.

“There will be no recommendations at the next JMMC meeting,” this source said. The source added that a decision on whether or not to extend a portion of the group’s voluntary oil output cuts into April would likely come at the end of February, while another said the decision’s timing was not yet clear.

OPEC, the Saudi Energy Ministry and the Russian Energy Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

Oil prices have found support from more positive sentiment about demand this week and rising geopolitical tensions from attacks by the Iran-aligned Houthi group on Red Sea shipping. Brent crude was trading near $82 a barrel on Friday. [O/R]

Last November, OPEC+ agreed to voluntary output cuts totalling about 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first quarter of this year led by Saudi Arabia rolling over a 1 million bpd voluntary reduction.

If these cuts are unwound, OPEC+ would begin to return 2.2 million bpd to the market from the beginning of April. This would leave 3.66 million bpd of output cuts agreed in earlier steps still in place.

The group’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia has said that the cuts could continue past the first quarter if needed. Previous decisions to extend voluntary cuts have come at least one month before the month of implementation.

A Russian delegate told Reuters there was no evidence some additional steps were needed, but added that member countries had not started their deliberations yet. Another of the OPEC+ sources said: “April onward policy might be deliberated at least.”

The JMMC usually meets every two months and brings together leading countries within the alliance, including Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

(Reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar, Olesya Astakhova, Maha El Dahan, Vladimir Soldatkin and Alex Lawler, Editing by Dmitry Zhdannikov and Mark Potter)


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