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Russia says OPEC+ sees no need for further oil output cuts


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Russia says OPEC+ sees no need for further oil output cuts

OIL. A general view shows the Kozmino oil-loading port in the bay of Kozmino, about 100 kilometers east of Russia's city of Vladivostok, December 28, 2009.

Yuri Maltsev/Reuters

Asked for his view on future oil price direction, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak says he can't 'speak for God' and therefore is not able to predict prices

MOSCOW, Russia – Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday, April 27, the OPEC+ group of leading oil producers saw no need for further output cuts despite lower-than-expected Chinese demand, but that the organization can always adjust policy if necessary.

He said Russia reached its targeted output this month after announcing cuts of 500,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 5% of its oil production, until the year-end.

Russia is part of the OPEC+ group of oil-producing countries that announced a combined reduction of around 1.16 million bpd earlier this month, a surprise decision the United States described as unwise.

Novak said Russian oil and gas condensate production is expected to decline to around 515 million tonnes (10.3 million bpd) this year from 535 million tonnes in 2022, broadly in line with a Reuters report this week.

Asked if the group needed to lower its output further because of falling oil prices, Novak said, “Well, no, of course not because we only made a decision [on reduction] a month ago, and it will come into force from May for those countries that have joined.”

He said the recovery of oil demand in China following the COVID-19 pandemic was “probably lower” than analysts and experts had expected and he regarded the market as balanced.

Novak said OPEC+ did not expect oil shortages on the global market after the production cuts, even though the International Energy Agency (IEA) said they risked exacerbating a supply deficit expected in the second half of the year.

Separately, the secretary general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Haitham Al Ghais said on Thursday that the IEA should be “very careful about further undermining” oil industry investments, which producing countries say are vital for economic growth and depend on robust oil prices.

Moscow maintains output despite sanctions

Following severe Western sanctions against Moscow over Ukraine, Russia has maintained its oil production and exports by increasing sales outside Europe, its traditional supply market for oil and gas.

Novak said that Russia will this year divert to Asia 140 million tonnes of oil and oil products that previously would have headed to Europe. He also said Russia will supply between 80 million tonnes and 90 million tonnes of oil and oil products to the West in 2023.

Asked for his view on future oil price direction, Novak said he couldn’t “speak for God” and therefore was not able to predict prices, which have been trading around $80 a barrel, far below peaks of well over $100 last year.

The market rallied following the OPEC+ announcement of surprise cuts, but has weakened in response to market concerns about recession and the impact that would have on demand.

Novak also said the difference between prices of Russian Urals flagship oil blend and global benchmark Brent in the Baltic is around $26 to $27 per barrel.

The discount widened in December after Western nations imposed a price cap, but has narrowed since mid-March. – Rappler.com

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