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G20 to watch oil markets in view of COVID-19 “second wave” risks

G20 countries will keep close watch on the supply and demand balance on world oil markets in view of growing risks stemming from “second wave” infections of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.

The situation has been stable over the last few months, a balance has been restored as oil producing countries have reduced output and demand has also been restored to a point,” Novak told Russia 24 TV channel after a G20 ministerial meeting.

But there also lies ahead a great deal of uncertainty, particularly risks of a pandemic second wave. Many countries are bringing back measures intended to halt the spread of the virus. Much will depend on this. How the market will react, what will happen to demand for petroleum products, how mobile people will be, what will happen to the aviation industry and car use."

 It was vital, he said, “within the framework of OPEC+, that we keep our finger on the pulse and watch how the situation develops so we can maintain that balance.”

Also raised at the G20 meeting were the environmental aspects of oil markets and policies aimed at limiting CO2 emissions.

This is quite an active sector at the moment. You can see that from the statements made by ministers and various international organisations,” Novak told Russia 24 TV channel.

Energy is the first sector to be affected by any strategy to reduce CO2 emissions, improve the climate situation and implement the Paris agreement. We are in active discussions with our partners on these matters, including the use of a closed technological cycle of hydrocarbons processing.”

Novak said that Russia had to rely for now on hydrocarbons despite the active development of renewal energy resources. But the industry had to be cleaner in technological and environmental terms. 

Although many countries are striving to boost the share of renewable resources in their energy balance, it is our view that we cannot manage without. hydrocarbons,” he said. “It is therefore important to ensure that their use is environmentally clean. A dialogue is underway, exchanges of views and discussions.”

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