OPEC President Says Group Still Considering Oil-Cuts Extension

OPEC and its allies are still considering extending current oil-supply cutbacks into next year, the cartel’s president said, even as news of a virus vaccine sends crude rallying.

“OPEC remains committed to taking appropriate action in a manner that is proactive and effective,” Algerian Energy Minister Abdelmadjid Attar, who this year holds OPEC’s rotating presidency, said at a meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum.

“This includes the possibility of extending the cuts into 2021 and deepening the adjustment if markets need,” Attar said.

The 23-nation OPEC+ alliance led by Saudi Arabia has indicated over the past week that it’s reconsidering plans to restore about 2 million barrels of output in January, as the resurgent pandemic inflicts a fresh blow to oil demand.

Speaking on Monday before the news of Pfizer Inc.’s progress with a coronavirus vaccine, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman said the coalition could “tweak this agreement” as needed. His comments followed an earlier signal from Algeria’s Attar and OPEC’s secretary-general.

The alliance will meet on Nov. 30 to Dec. 1 to make a decision.

OPEC Caution

Attar’s remarks on Wednesday represent the group’s first public statement since the vaccine breakthrough was reported.

A monthly report from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ Vienna-based secretariat also reflected a sense of caution, or even pessimism, within the cartel despite the medical progress that has pushed oil prices back up to $45 a barrel.

OPEC cut projections for the amount of crude it will need to pump during almost every quarter to the end of 2021, and warned the pandemic’s effects on consumption will “linger” next year.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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