Vienna, April 13 OPEC warned today that the world remains awash with crude ahead of a crunch meeting in Doha between cartel members and other major producers to discuss a production freeze to boost oil price. The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said in its April monthly report that oil prices rose over 20 per cent in March, continuing a slow recovery from great plunge of 2014-15. ‘Positive market sentiments continue to arise from the output freeze plan being considered by major crude exporters’, as well as an expected fall in output in the United States and elsewhere, OPEC said. “Nevertheless, hurdles prevail as oversupply persists and inventories remain high,” it warned. All oil producers, not just those in the 13-nation OPEC but also non-cartel members like Russia, have suffered from the more than 60 per cent drop in oil prices since mid-2014. An agreement in Doha on Sunday to freeze production would, in theory at least, reduce the glut, boost prices and help repair their in some cases — for example Venezuela — dangerously tattered public finances. “When there is coordination between major producers in OPEC and non-OPEC countries, it will certainly help to stabilise prices,” Kuwait’s Acting Oil Minister Anas al-Saleh told reporters on Sunday. Media reports on Tuesday suggested that Russia and Saudi Arabia, two of the world’s biggest producers, had already reached a deal, boosting oil prices to a high for the year. These fell back slightly today. What would be a momentous agreement among the 15 or so oil producers — representing some 75 per cent of global output — in Doha is far from guaranteed, however. Nor would it necessarily lift prices. OPEC member Iran has so far rejected attempts to freeze production as it ramps up output following lifting of sanctions this year as part of nuclear deal with major powers. Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman has said the kingdom, OPEC’s top producer, would only freeze output if Iran and other major producers are also on board. OPEC report showed that Iranian oil production in March was 3.3 million barrels per day (bpd), up from 2.9 million bpd in January and an average of 2.8 million bpd in 2015. Saudi oil production by contrast was 10.1 million bpd, unchanged from January or from the kingdom’s average last year. OPEC today also trimmed slightly its forecast for global oil demand this year to 94.18 million bpd from its previous projection of 94.23 million bpd, reflecting slowed economic momentum in Latin America. In 2015, demand was 92.98 million bpd.
OPEC warns on oil ‘oversupply’ ahead of crunch Doha meeting
Published: 08:07 am Apr 14, 2016