OPEC+ Sees Almost Full Oil-Cuts Compliance in December

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OPEC and its partners estimate they implemented 99% of their agreed oil-supply curbs in December, according to a delegate who asked not to be named.

The 23-nation alliance known as OPEC+ aimed to withhold 7.2 million barrels a day of crude from the market in January -- about 7% of global supplies. They agreed to increase production by 500,000 barrels from December as part of a plan to ease the cuts.

The compliance data is preliminary and will be reviewed on Tuesday by the group’s Joint Technical Committee.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies agreed to unprecedented supply restrictions last April after the coronavirus pandemic grounded planes, shut down economies and caused oil prices to crash. Benchmark Brent crude has almost tripled since its trough that month to $56 a barrel, though it’s still below what most producing nations need to balance their budgets.

No Policy Change

Implementation in December was at 103% among OPEC members, and 93% for their non-OPEC partners, a group that includes Russia and Kazakhstan.

The JTC will present its assessment to the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, which meets on Wednesday to discuss the alliance’s strategy. The JMMC is unlikely to recommend any policy changes, according to delegates who asked not to be identified.

Following the modest increase in January production, OPEC+ has decided to keep output unchanged in February and March. However, Saudi Arabia, the group’s most influential member, pledged a unilateral cut of 1 million barrels each day over that period.

Iraq, the biggest producer in OPEC+ after Saudi Arabia and Russia, said it would reduce its daily output to 3.6 million barrels in January and February to make up for breaching its quota last year. That would be a reduction of roughly 250,000 barrels a day from December.

OPEC+ will hold a full ministerial meeting in early March to decide its next steps.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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