Saudi energy minister says OPEC+ oil output deal could be tweaked

LONDON (Reuters) - The OPEC+ deal on oil output cuts could be adjusted as it has been in the past if there is consensus among members of the informal producers’ group, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told a conference on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud speaks via video link during a virtual emergency meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC countries, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia April 9, 2020. Picture taken April 9, 2020. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS

The Saudi minister was commenting after being asked whether OPEC+ - which groups OPEC states, Russia and other producers - would keep existing cuts of 7.7 million barrels per day (bpd), rather than easing them from January to 5.7 million bpd.

“We did tweak and I believe with consultation with our friends, some of them are present here and some of them are not, but I know how heartily they are committed to the principle of tweaking,” he told the ADIPEC conference.

“I would go and argue it could be a tweak even beyond what the so-called analysts are talking about,” the minister said.

Analysts say tougher restrictions on mobility to deal with sky-rocketing coronavirus cases mean OPEC and its allies will hesitate to increase supply by reducing output curbs.

JP Morgan said OPEC+ may need to delay the tapering of cuts by one quarter until the end of March.

Algeria, which holds the OPEC presidency, said last week it supported rolling over the current cuts, and that the next OPEC+ meeting could look into a six-month extension of the current cuts.

OPEC+ will meet on November 30 and December 1.


Prince Abdelaziz said the oil market remained stable despite soaring Libyan oil output and new lockdowns.

“With all the new spread (of the coronavirus) that is happening in Europe, and commensurate with that we have the welcomed return of Libya’s production, and yet we’re maintaining the market in a sustainable stable environment today,” he said.

Oil prices LCOc1 were trading more than 3% higher at $40.78 a barrel on Monday.

Libyan oil production has soared to over 1 million barrels per day (bpd) from around 100,000 bpd in early September following the lifting of an eight-month blockade.

Production is expected to rise even further to 1.3 million bpd in the next few weeks, faster than analysts had been expecting.

Reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar and Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Louise Heavens, Edmund Blair, Kirsten Donovan