OPEC: Saudi minister encourages oil production transparency from Russia

Fahad Abuljadayel and Anthony Di Paola, Bloomberg June 06, 2023

(Bloomberg) – Russia would benefit from being transparent in publishing its oil production data as the OPEC group, which it leads along with Saudi Arabia, seeks to convince markets that it is pumping at pledged levels, the kingdom’s energy minister said.

“We had a discussion with the Russian side regarding their responsibility to be clear and transparent in providing information,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the energy minister, said in an interview with Al Arabiya television. “They made a decision some time ago not to disclose the information, and I believe they now realize that the non-disclosure of information has led to doubts about their figures.”

Russia restricted oil production data last year due to its “sensitive” nature, making it difficult to assess the country’s compliance with its pledged output cuts beyond official statements. Russia’s Federal Statistics Service stopped publication of crude and condensate output earlier this year until April 2024, following a government decree. Crude supplies to domestic refineries and seaborne exports are key remaining gauges for oil market watchers to understand trends in Russia’s oil output.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak’s media office didn’t respond to a request for comment on the matter. Russia is currently working with secondary sources to update its production figures for February, the baseline for output cuts, according to an OPEC production table for next year published Sunday.

In an effort to bolster oil markets, OPEC agreed Sunday to maintain through next year voluntary output cuts that several members promised at a meeting two months earlier. Prices have slumped since then, trading at levels lower than before those cuts were announced and prompting another intervention by the Saudis. The world’s biggest exporter said yesterday it will make a unilateral reduction of 1 MMbpd, day starting in July.

OPEC, of which Saudi Arabia is the de facto leader, and other producers headed by Russia created the group to coordinate supply levels. OPEC nations need to be able to reach their output quotas and the organization will rearrange allocations to ensure that the group pumps what it pledges, the prince said.

“We are fed up with giving some states quotas that they cannot meet,” he said.

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