Russia, Saudi Arabia agree to extend oil output cuts until March 2018

Posted May 19, 2017

World oil prices leapt after the Saudi-Russian announcement and made further gains on Tuesday in Asian trade, with benchmark West Texas Intermediate up 19 cents at Dollars 49.04 per barrel.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at US$48.98 a barrel, up 13 cents, or 0.3% from their last settlement.

News of the joint deal sent crude prices up more than 1.5 percent in Asian trading. "Year-to-date compliance with production cuts remained robust at 96 percent", said the report.

US crude oil inventories were expected to fall by around 2.3 million barrels during the week ended May 12, according to a Reuters poll. US crude lost 8 cents to $48.77 a barrel.

"The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela supports the joint proposal of Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Falih and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak to extend for nine months the agreement on voluntary oil output cuts signed by 24 countries, including non-OPEC members, in December 2016 in order to stabilize the world oil market", the statement read.

"When the two biggest oil producers of the world reach a consensus on the extension of a supply cut, the market will listen", Tamas Varga, of oil broker PVM, said in a report.

US energy firms have added oil rigs for a 17th week in a row, extending a 12-month drilling recovery that is expected to help boost crude production in the United States to a record high next year.

The International Energy Agency said the global oil market is rebalancing and the pace is picking up, even if inventories do not yet reflect the impact of OPEC supply cuts.

Putin, speaking in Beijing, said extending the output cuts was the right thing to do.

And on Tuesday, Kuwait said it "gives its full backing and support to. extend the oil output cuts deal between OPEC and other producers until March 2018".

Current U.S. production is at 9.3 million bpd, up more than 10 percent since its mid-2016 trough.

Yet, OPEC's own production rose in April, by 65,000 barrels daily last month, to 31.78 million bpd, with increased production in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia compensated for production outages in Libya and lower production rates in Iran, both exempt from the cut agreement.