OPEC+ Tries to Keep Oil Above $90 With Large Production Cut
Comment of the Day

October 05 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

OPEC+ Tries to Keep Oil Above $90 With Large Production Cut

This article from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Earlier on Wednesday, US officials were making calls to counterparts in the Gulf trying to push back against the move to cut production, according to people familiar with the situation. President Biden has long been pushing OPEC+ to boost output, visiting Saudi Arabia earlier this year in search of lower pump prices for Americans ahead of midterm elections in November.

The White House’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said in a statement after the OPEC+ meeting that the US would release another 10 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in November, and that “the president will continue to direct SPR releases as appropriate to protect American consumers and promote energy security.”

Real Cuts
The cut of 2 million barrels a day will be measured against the same baseline as the previous OPEC+ agreements, Amir Hossein Zamaninia, OPEC governor for Iran, told reporters in Vienna after the meeting. Shared pro rata between members, that would require just eight countries to curb actual production and deliver a real reduction of about 900,000 barrels a day, according to Bloomberg calculations based on September output figures.

OPEC+ will no longer hold monthly meetings, Zamaninia said. The group’s Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, which oversees implementation of production cuts, will meet every two months, he said. 

Eoin Treacy's view

Moving meetings to every two months suggest this cut to production is not a short-term measure. OPEC ministers are obviously worried about the prospect of lower demand and above all do not wish to re-experience the 2020 plunge in prices because they were not prescient enough to reduce supply.
The petrodollar system was predicated on the USA buying Saudi oil and Saudi Arabia reinvesting the proceeds in US Treasuries; the world’s biggest vendor financing scheme.  The above chart highlights the fact Saudi Arabia is no longer buying US Treasuries.

The USA becoming an exporter and displaying less willingness to actively engage in supporting Saudi Arabia (in Yemen) continues to represent one of the biggest changes to geopolitics in a generation. When I was in Saudi Arabia in January, all the senior people in the Public Investment Fund I met were mainland Chinese natives. Saudi Arabia will inevitably grow closer to its biggest customers and that has long-term geopolitical and economic consequences.
Brent crude oil is back above the $90 area and testing the four-month sequence of lower rally highs. There was nothing dynamic about this move and suggests OPEC+ is probably correct in their assumption demand is a bigger issue than supply.

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