Russia To Discuss Possible Exit From OPEC Deal

Authored by Zainab Calcuttawala via OilPrice.com,

Russia may be on its way out of the OPEC output reduction deal, according to the country’s Energy Minister, Alexander Novak.

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Reuters reports that Novak might discuss the country’s potential exit from the pact in Oman next week. Russia had vowed to cut output by 300,000 barrels per day under the agreement as part of a group of non-OPEC producers who elected to coordinate the bloc’s market stabilization initiative.

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 “We see that the market is becoming balanced. We see that the market surplus is decreasing, but the market is not completely balanced yet and, of course, we need to continue monitoring the situation,” Novak said.  Russian oil majors have been complaining about the deal and how it is creating stumbling blocks on the road towards the industry’s expansion plans.

Brent barrel prices are currently approaching $70 a barrel, suggesting crude markets are rebalancing as we approach June, when the deal is set for “review” – a process with little description in the full text of the OPEC deal’s renewal, which was agreed upon in November.

As far as OPEC members are concerned, the deal could carry on beyond the end of 2018. Speaking to CNBC, the United Arab Emirates’ energy minister, Suhail al-Mazrouei said: “I am expecting that this group of countries that stood and have become responsible for helping the market to correct, (that) there is a very good chance that they could stick together and put a shape around that alliance.”

His statement comes amid a variety of scenarios on how the deal might come to an end, featuring civil unrest in Venezuela and Iran that may lead to supply disruptions; Russia pulling out of the pact in June; OPEC members and other parties to the deal starting—or continuing—to cheat; and oil prices rising too high.