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Opec+ to take June meetings online

  • : Crude oil
  • 24/05/24

Meetings to discuss Opec+ crude output policy that had been scheduled to take place in Vienna at the start of June have been pushed back by a day and will now be held online.

The meetings — one involving Opec ministers, another involving the wider Opec+ coalition and a third consisting of the group's Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) — will "convene via videoconference on Sunday 2 June 2024", the Opec secretariat said on Friday. The original schedule was for Opec+ ministers to meet in person on 1 June.

The announcement puts to bed more than a week of rumours and delegate chatter about whether or not the meeting would take place in person as speculation mounts around what policy decision the group would need, or be prepared, to take.

Effectively, the only thing up for debate at these meetings is the fate of the 2.2mn b/d supply cut that eight member countries, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, committed to after the Opec+ group's last meeting in late November. That cut was originally due to last for just three months, but it was later extended for another three months until the end of June.

Several weeks ago, when oil prices were under sustained upward pressure in the face of tightening fundamentals and rising geopolitical tensions, expectations were high that the group would agree to begin unwinding at least part of the 2.2mn b/d from July. But a relative easing of tensions in the Middle East, coupled with signs of continued restrictive monetary policy by the US Federal Reserve and other major central banks, has since led to a softening of oil prices and with that a change in sentiment among Opec+ delegates about what the group should do next.

Delegates today argue that the market is on the whole well-supplied and in no need of additional supply from the group, particularly given the uncertainty around the outlook for oil demand, highlighted by the wide range of growth projections for 2024.

At one end of the spectrum, Opec sees oil demand growth of 2.25mn b/d this year. At the other end, the IEA recently revised down its 2024 growth forecast for a second consecutive month. It now stands at 1.06mn b/d.

Two Opec+ delegates said earlier this week that they expect the eight countries to extend the 2.2mn b/d cut in its entirety beyond the second quarter. One said they could extend it through to the end of the year.

Compensation plans

A renewed emphasis by Opec+ in recent weeks on the need for those member countries producing above their targets to not only scale back but also compensate fully for their past overproduction could be interpreted as acknowledgement by the group that the market is indeed well-supplied.

Iraq and Kazakhstan, the group's biggest overproducers this year, this month issued detailed programmes outlining how they plan to compensate, while Russia this week acknowledged it had exceeded its Opec+ target for April and said it would soon submit a plan to the Opec secretariat detailing how it will make up it.

Although all eyes will be on the fate of the 2.2mn b/d cut at the upcoming meetings, the fact it is a voluntary pledge and one agreed by only a handful of countries means, in theory, a decision need not happen at the ministerial meeting. As the eight countries participating in that cut are all members of the JMMC, there is a good chance the decision gets announced at the committee's meeting instead.

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