OPEC+: Short and smooth
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The OPEC+ Monitoring Committee held one of its shortest meetings on record, smooth and free of sensational developments.

Participants noted in their final statement that demand for oil in the near future would remain uncertain, but the increasingly widespread use of vaccinations would encourage its growth.

They also pointed out that reserves in the OECD countries fell in December for the fifth straight month.

“Although the economic prospects and demand for oil remain uncertain over the next few months, the gradual rollout of vaccines around the world is a positive factor for the rest of the year, boosting the global economy and oil demand,” the committee said in a statement following the talks.

The committee noted that since the OPEC+ ministerial meeting of April 2020, oil production had declined by 2.1 billion barrels, stabilising oil markets and speeding up the process of rebalancing.

And in January 2021, compliance with the agreement stood at 101 %.

Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman broke with tradition at the meeting by actively praising countries that had once infringed the agreement.

“For many countries, the period of restoring compensated volumes has been shortened. And Nigeria is to be praised for the progress achieved in that regard. I hope that this issue will soon be removed from OPEC’s agenda,” he said, opening the meeting.

“I hope that Iraq will also complete this procedure and we will have a big celebration. Nor will we forget Kazakhstan.  I urge my colleagues and friends to keep their promises.”

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said it was important to keep close watch on the activities of producer countries that were not parties to OPEC+.

“It is vital for us to pay close attention to oil output of big producers that do not take part in our joint actions. Our key task must remain ensuring that the agreements in effect are carried out 100 %,” Novak said. “The mechanism which has already been working for several years is a clear example of pooling our efforts for the common good – balancing the markets.”

No decisions were taken to alter the parameters of the agreement.

The committee holds monthly meetings.

 Quotas for February and March were decided at the January session. In accordance with that decision, all countries within the OPEC+ agreement maintain their January production levels, Russia is permitted to raise its oil production by 65,000 bpd and Kazakhstan by 10,000 bpd. And both countries may raise their production levels by the same amount in March.

As a “good will” gesture, to stabilise markets, Saudi Arabia and a number of other OPEC countries will decrease their production in February by 1.425 million bpd.

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