Oil is heading toward US$ 70 a barrel after OPEC+ chose not to relax supply curbs even as the global economy pulls out of its pandemic-driven slump, confounding widespread expectations the group would loosen the taps.
Members of the Opec group of oil producers and their partners will meet via videoconference next Monday to decide on production levels for February, hoping to turn the corner on a difficult year. The Opec+ ministerial meeting comes after oil consumption tanked in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
OPEC and allies led by Russia postponed talks on oil output policy for 2021 to Thursday, sources said on Monday as key players still disagreed on how much oil they should pump amid weak demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.
OPEC faces a critical moment in its 60-year history with the coronavirus crushing crude demand and prices, discord among its members, and threats from a world seeking cleaner fuels.
An oil tanker is expected to load crude at Libya's Marsa el-Hariga terminal this week, the first since a blockade by eastern forces in January slashed the OPEC member's oil production to a trickle.
Throughout the summer, oil’s recovery from its devastating crash has looked somewhat dubious. While the price of crude rebounded somewhat, it did not wholly regain its pre-pandemic strength. And while the nations of OPEC+ put measures in place to cut production and close the gap between supply and demand, certain nations involved hinted at the reluctance to keep cuts in place. These factors, coupled with the lingering potential of fresh “waves” of the coronavirus, have kept us from being overly optimistic about the state of oil.
United States prosecutors filed a lawsuit to seize the gasoline aboard four tankers that Iran is trying to ship to Venezuela, the latest attempt by the Donald Trump administration to increase economic pressure on the two U.S. foes.
Oil prices fell due to concerns about riots in major US cities that could staunch demand after trading higher on optimism that OPEC would extend or enhance production cuts at a meeting in June.
OPEC again slashed its forecast for global oil demand this year as the coronavirus outbreak causes a global recession, although it said record supply cuts by the group and other producers were already helping rebalance the market.
Saudi Arabia said on Monday it had asked oil giant Aramco to cut an additional one million barrels per day from June, to support prices that have crashed during the coronavirus crisis.