Saudi Arabia open to another OPEC cuts extension

By Wael Mahdi on 9/11/2017

KUWAIT (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih agreed with his Venezuelan and Kazakh counterparts to keep all options open in their push to re-balance world oil markets, including the possible extension of output cuts beyond next March. 

Al-Falih agreed in separate talks with the ministers in the Kazakh capital Astana that steps taken by OPEC and other major crude producers such as Kazakhstan have contributed to better market stability, according to emailed statements from the Saudi energy ministry. 

Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, both members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, agreed to consider prolonging production cuts “beyond the first quarter of 2018, if needed,” the Saudi ministry said in one of the statements. The kingdom and Kazakhstan said such an extension “would be considered in due course as market fundamentals may dictate,” according to a separate Saudi statement.

OPEC and other producers including Russia pledged to reduce output by about 1.8 MMbpd through March in a drive to trim global oil inventories and buttress prices. Producers are seeking to strengthen compliance with the cuts accord they reached last year. Al-Falih of Saudi Arabia, the largest supplier in OPEC, met with Venezuela’s Eulogio Del Pino on Saturday and with Kazakhstan’s Kanat Bozumbayev on Sunday.

Benchmark Brent crude has lost 5.6% this year and was trading 18 cents lower at $53.60/bbl at 12:22 p.m. on Monday in London.

Targeted cuts

Al-Falih and Del Pino said both their countries are exceeding full compliance with their targeted production cuts and that they shared “an optimistic outlook” on global supply and demand for crude in 2018, according to a statement.

Bozumbayev told Al-Falih that “despite the gradual ramp up of the giant Kashagan field this year, Kazakhstan was able, through reducing production in other fields in August, to achieve more than full conformity with its voluntary production level,” the Saudi ministry said in a separate statement. 

Al-Falih agreed with Bozumbayev to expand cooperation between their two countries in all areas of the energy industry, “including two major projects in Kazakhstan in petrochemicals and renewable energy,” according to the statement.

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