OPEC+ Likely to Retain 400,000bpd Increase at Next Meeting

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By Adedapo Adesanya

Signs show that the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, together known as OPEC+, will retain their current level of output cut in February 2022 when they meet on January 4, 2022.

According to a Reuters’ report, four sources said this is set to happen as demand concerns raised by the Omicron coronavirus variant eased and oil prices recover.

The alliance at its last meeting on December 2 stuck to the plan for a 400,000 barrels per day rise in January despite fears that a US release from crude reserves and Omicron would lead to an oil-price rout.

Citing a source, the news agency noted that “at the moment, I have not heard of any moves to change course.”

In addition, a Russian oil source and two other OPEC+ sources also confirmed that no changes to the deal were expected next week.

News of the planned meeting came as oil prices eased on Thursday after the world’s top importer China cut the first batch of crude import allocations for 2022, offsetting the impact of US data showing fuel demand had held up despite soaring Omicron coronavirus infections.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said the OPEC+ production agreement was needed for oil market stability and that producers must comply with the pact.

Iraq, on its part, said it would support sticking to existing OPEC+ policies to raise output by a combined 400,000 barrels per day in February.

Global oil prices have rebounded by between 50 per cent and 60 per cent in 2021 as fuel demand roared back to near pre-pandemic levels and deep production cuts by OPEC+ for most of the year erased a supply glut.

OPEC ministers are also set to discuss who will become the group’s new secretary-general to replace Nigeria’s Mr Mohammad Barkindo, who is scheduled to leave at the end of July. Kuwait’s candidate, Mr Haitham al-Ghais, tipped to take over has widespread support, sources have said.

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