Dubai: OPEC and its allies agreed to stick to their existing schedule for gradual monthly oil-production increases after a brief video conference.
Ministers agreed to continue making 400,000 barrel-a-day monthly supply boosts, delegates said. The panel’s online talks lasted less than an hour, one of the quickest meetings in recent memory and a stark contrast to the drawn-out negotiations seen at the cartel’s previous meeting in July.
With crude prices mostly recovered from their mid-August slump and the supply outlook relatively tight for the rest of the year, the group has little reason to change the established schedule of gradual monthly supply hikes.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia are in the process of rolling back the unprecedented output cuts implemented at the depths of the Covid-19 crisis last year. About 45 per cent of the idle supply has already been revived, and in July the group laid out a plan for gradually returning the remainder through to September 2022.
There were some questions about that schedule when oil markets wobbled over the summer as the resurgent pandemic threatened demand in China and the U.S. But fuel use proved resilient and OPEC-watchers had widely expected the group to stick with its plan.
Meanwhile Reuters reported OPEC+ revised up its 2022 oil demand forecast amid US pressure to raise output more quickly to support the global economy.
Two OPEC+ sources said the group’s experts revised the 2022 oil demand growth forecast to 4.2 million barrels per day (bpd), up from the previous forecast of 3.28 million bpd.
OPEC+ expects global oil demand to grow by 5.95 million bpd in 2021 after a record drop of about 9 million bpd in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.