Saudi Arabia expected to extend voluntary oil cut till September - GulfToday

Saudi Arabia expected to extend voluntary oil cut till September


Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Al-Saud arrives for an OPEC meeting in Vienna. File/Reuters

Saudi Arabia is expected to extend a voluntary oil output cut of 1 million barrels per day for another month to include September, five analysts said, to provide additional support for the oil market.

In June, OPEC+ agreed on a broad deal to limit oil supply into 2024 and Saudi Arabia pledged an additional voluntary cut for July. On July 3, Saudi Arabia said it would extend the cut for another month to include August, adding that it could be extended further.

Oil prices have found some support from evidence of tightening supplies and economic stimulus in China. Brent crude was trading at over $84 a barrel on Friday, after hitting the highest level since April on Thursday.

"Given the tentative recovery, my guess is they continue the cut for one more month and then phase it out over three months – similar to what Saudi did in 2021," said Gary Ross, founder of Black Gold Investors and a veteran OPEC watcher.

The Saudi Energy Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

In the latest comments from an OPEC member on the market, the energy minister for the United Arab Emirates told Reuters on July 21 that current OPEC+ actions are sufficient for now and the group is "only a phone call away" if any further steps are needed.

OPEC+, which groups the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, pumps around 40% of the world's crude. The group has been limiting supply since late 2022 to support the market.

Another analyst, Giovanni Staunovo of UBS, also drew a parallel with Saudi actions to bolster the market two years ago.

"Looking at what they did in 2021, the full 1 million bpd cut was in place for three months, before scaling it down. So based on that they might extend it for another month," he said on July 25.

"But there are many moving parts at present, which might still impact the decision over the coming days."

The Saudi voluntary cut announcement for July came as a surprise at the June OPEC+ meeting, where Riyadh shared little or no detail on the measure with other delegations prior to the meeting, OPEC+ sources said.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said in July that OPEC+ would "continue the effort at surprising markets" and do "whatever is necessary."

Three other analysts — Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM, Warren Patterson of ING and Macquarie analyst Vikas Dwivedi — also said they thought the cut would probably be extended for September.

"I think that Saudi cuts will remain in place throughout September," Varga said. "Keeping these cuts in place... will I believe provide a better idea on how to manage the supply side of the oil equation in the fourth quarter of the year."


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