Official Says Russia to Wait on OPEC+ Decision

Official Says Russia to Wait on OPEC+ Decision
Russia won't be making any decisions about the future of OPEC+'s production cuts before next month's meeting.

(Bloomberg) -- Russia, OPEC’s key ally in the deal to balance the global oil market, won’t be making any decisions about the future of the group’s production cuts before next month’s meeting.

“We will have a look in a month and come up with our position,” Energy Minister Alexander Novak told Bloomberg on Tuesday. A day earlier, speaking at a meeting with fellow OPEC+ ministers, he had warned that the recovery in global oil demand has slowed recently amid new waves of the coronavirus pandemic, adding to market uncertainty.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies have been making deep oil-output cuts since April. They plan to gradually ease those curbs as demand recovers, adding 1.9 million barrels a day back into the market in January. However, the renewed spread of the virus is putting the group under pressure to change that plan.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, speaking at Monday’s video conference of the OPEC+ ministerial panel, warned of an “uncertain” outlook for demand and called on the group to be proactive. “We have to be able to take measures to head off negative trends and developments -- to nip them in the bud,” he said.

Novak’s language on the OPEC+ deal appears to be evolving. Less than a week ago, he said the group aims to stick to its plan to increase output from January. Reuters reported earlier on Tuesday that Russia may support delaying the planned easing of the production cuts if the market situation worsens, citing unnamed sources in the country’s oil industry.

--With assistance from Dina Khrennikova.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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