Both the OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers that were led by Russia have agreed on Thursday to have the oil output cuts extended until the end of 2018 as they try to finish clearing out a global over-saturation of crude while signaling the possibility of an early exit from the deal if the market overheats.
This year, Russia has significantly reduced its production of oil with OPEC for the first time. Russia has been pushing the idea of formulating and delivering a clear message on how to exit the cuts so the market doesn’t fall into a massive shortage too soon, and that prices don’t rally too fast and rival the United States.
Russia will have to reduce its oil prices by a substantial amount to be able to balance its budget. That being said, Russia will have to lower the prices a lot more in comparison to the leading producer in OPEC which is Saudi Arabia. Also, Saudi Arabia is preparing a stock market listing for national energy champion Aramco next year and would therefore benefit from pricier crude.
The current deal of the producer, under which they are cutting supply by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in an effort to boost oil prices, will expire in March.
Khalid al-Falih, which is the Saudi Energy Minister, told reporters that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries along with its non-OPEC allies had agreed to extend the cuts by nine months until the end of 2018, as largely anticipated by the market.
The main theme in geopolitical upside risks to oil prices at the beginning of this year have been Protests in Iran. Analysts, however, believe that it’s very unlikely that disruptions in the export of oil out of iran would immediately occur.
But the aftermath of the protests and the response that the regime has given them could encourage the United States President, Donald Trump to refuse to certify the Iran nuclear deal and extend sanctions on energy industry of Tehran. This was all according to Helima Croft, of RBC Capital Markets. Trump should expect several Iran-deal-related deadlines in weeks to come.
The oil ministers of Iraq, Iran, and Angola also said before the meetings on Thursday that a review of the deal could possibly be pushed in June in case the market became too tight.
International benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 went up about 0.5 percent on Thursday and ended up trading above $63 per barrel.
U.S. production could potentially increase given the current oil prices. On december, Q4 Dallas Fed Energy Survey published that 42 percent of executives from 132 energy firms expect a great increase in oil rigs if WTI prices land between $61 and $65 a barrel.
Another 31 percent of executives assume that oil prices need to be between $66 and $70 a barrel to see an increase, while 20 percent believe prices have to be above $70 for oil rig counts to rise. It’s still too early to tell how the market will behave and what factors the geopolitical risks will bring.