OPEC+ Ministers Meeting on Coronavirus Is Unlikely, RIA Says

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC+ ministers are unlikely to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the impact of the coronavirus on oil markets, according to a report on the RIA Novosti newswire, citing Azerbaijan Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov.

A meeting planned for March will go ahead as scheduled, rather than being moved to the middle or end of February, Shahbazov told reporters. The situation in energy markets is now stabilizing after the spread of the coronavirus initially sent oil prices down by more than 10%, he explained.

As the coronavirus outbreak in Asia sent oil prices to one-year lows last week, the OPEC+ alliance, which controls about half of the world’s crude production, is considering ways to mitigate the effects. Technical experts from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies on Thursday recommended a further supply cut of 600,000 barrels a day until June, said OPEC delegates, who asked not to be named because talks were private.

In addition, they recommended that the current 2.1 million-barrel-a-day cut already in place be extended until the end of the year, rather than expiring in March as originally planned, one delegate said. It is up to OPEC+ ministers to act on the recommendation of the technical experts and decide on the need for an extraordinary meeting to adopt the deeper cuts.

Saudi Arabia, the de-facto OPEC leader, has been pressing for new output reductions. Yet Russia, OPEC’s biggest ally, has said that it needs more time to look at the evidence. Russia is set to give its position within several days, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Friday.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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