OPEC+ Gives New Signal It May Tweak Plan to Boost Oil Supply

OPEC+ ministers talked openly about the possibility of tweaking their oil-cuts deal before January’s scheduled production increase.

The comments were the latest in a series of signals that the group was reconsidering plans to ease supply curbs in January, but came before crude prices jumped as much as 11% in New York on news that Pfizer Inc. had developed a promising coronavirus vaccine.

“With the consensus of everybody, we could navigate with this agreement and tweak this agreement, subject to what we may see in the future,” Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman said at a virtual session of the Abu Dhabi International Exhibition and Conference on Monday.

The OPEC+ alliance, led by the Saudis and Russia, had already indicated it might need to defer the production increase as the resurgent pandemic inflicted a fresh blow on demand and prices. The group is currently scheduled to restore about 2 million of the 7.7 million barrels kept offline, and will meet on Nov. 30 to Dec. 1 to make a decision.

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OPEC+ has demonstrated it will do what it takes to keep markets balanced, United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said at the same event. Russian Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin observed that it will take two to three years for global demand to return to pre-virus levels of about 100 million barrels a day.

Yet Prince Abdulaziz also noted that a successful vaccine could potentially transform the market, where the demand recovery is threatened by a second round of lockdowns.

“A solution to mitigate the virus in the form of a vaccine, and the spread of the vaccine availability, would be the most meaningful type of mitigator,” he said. “Mobility would be regained and a state of normality to the world economy.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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