The Saudi energy minister said that it was early to say whether there was a consensus among OPEC and its allies to prolong the existing supply cuts, adding that a meeting of the joint OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial committee next month would be instrumental. Saudi Arabia and Russia are both members of the panel known as the JMMC, which is a platform for the world’s biggest oil producers to engage regarding the oil matters.
“JMMC will be a key decision point because we will certainly by then know where the consensus view is and, more importantly, before we ask for consensus, we will know where the fundamentals are pointing,” said Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih. “I think May is going to be key,” he added. The Saudi minister also said that while oil inventories are still high, the market was on its way toward rebalancing and thus did not believe that more needed to be done since Saudi Arabia had already done a lot by cutting production below its target under the OPEC deal. “We are getting to a stage where inventories are starting to stabilize and come down but still significantly above what I would consider a normal level,” Mr. al-Falih pointed out.
Russia, which is cutting its production together with OPEC, said that output cuts would remain in place at least until June when the White House’s next steps on reducing Iranian and Venezuelan oil exports would be clearer. In the meantime, the United States has been boosting its own crude oil steeply while the White House has been putting pressure on OPEC to increase its production and thus lower the global crude price.