News wire — Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said Monday that the OPEC+ deal on oil output cuts could be tweaked if there is consensus within the expanded group of crude-producing nations.
In August, ministers of OPEC nations and other major producers stuck to an agreement to lower oil production, underlining that only strict compliance could restore stability to prices sent plummeting by the coronavirus pandemic.
While prices shot up Monday on coronavirus vaccine hopes following successful trials by Pfizer and BioNTech, crude consumption is far from pre-confinement levels — which were already relatively low.
“With the consensus of everybody, we could navigate with this agreement and tweak this agreement, subject to what we may see in the future,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud told an Abu Dhabi conference.
He was addressing the virtual meeting shortly before the Pfizer announcement.
Under the terms of an agreement struck in April, OPEC and the so-called OPEC+ pledged to cut output by 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) from May 1 until the end of June.
The cuts were then to be gradually eased from July, to 7.7 million bpd until December. Prince Abdulaziz, whose country analysts say fears a rollback on US sanctions against arch-rival Iran, congratulated American President-elect Joe Biden on his successful campaign.
As far as implications for oil prices are concerned, “we will handle whatever may happen within OPEC+”, he said.
US President Donald Trump was popular among Gulf governments, especially for his unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and subsequent re-imposition of tough sanctions on the Islamic republic.
The tycoon courted Saudi Arabia even after the brutal killing of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate. Biden has said he will ensure the United States “does not check its values at the door to sell arms or buy oil”.