OPEC Signals Larger Oil Surplus, Unless Cuts Implemented

OPEC on Wednesday signaled a growing oil supply surplus next year unless members implement their deal to curb output from record levels and outside producers also deliver on cutback pledges made at the weekend.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 33.87 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, according to figures OPEC collects from secondary sources, up 150,000 bpd from October, OPEC said in a monthly report.

OPEC’s own figures show the group’s output has continued to rise, adding to a global glut, ahead of the January start of its first supply cut agreement since 2008. This could raise questions about its ability to comply fully with the deal.

But OPEC was hopeful that supply curbs pledged by Russia and other non-members at the weekend, in addition to its own reductions, will tackle the surplus and support prices, which at $55 a barrel LCOc1 are still half the level of mid-2014.

The non-OPEC cuts should help to “accelerate the reduction of global inventories and bring forward the rebalancing of the oil market to the second half of 2017,” OPEC said in the report.

To speed it up, OPEC last month finalised a plan to cut output by about 1.20 million bpd from Jan. 1 to 32.50 million bpd. On Saturday, non-member countries pledged curbs of around 560,000 bpd in the first such move since 2001.

The report is the latest to show output hitting new peaks. The November OPEC production figure is the highest since at least 2008, according to a Reuters review of past OPEC reports.

OPEC’s figures show more than two-thirds of November’s extra barrels came from Libya and Nigeria, both of which are exempt from cutting output because their production has been curbed by conflict. Total output is 1.37 million bpd above the new target.

In the report, OPEC raised its forecast of non-OPEC supply slightly in 2017 to 300,000 bpd, although it said the forecast was under review following Saturday’s meeting.

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With the demand for OPEC crude in 2017 expected to average 32.63 million bpd, the report indicates there will be an average surplus of 1.24 million bpd if OPEC keeps output steady. Last month’s report pointed to a 950,000 bpd surplus.

OPEC did not give a detailed forecast of the outlook if all parties cut supply as promised. The International Energy Agency said on Tuesday the market could show a shortfall of 600,000 bpd early next year in this scenario.


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Dean Popplewell

Dean Popplewell

Vice-President of Market Analysis at MarketPulse
Dean Popplewell has nearly two decades of experience trading currencies and fixed income instruments. He has a deep understanding of market fundamentals and the impact of global events on capital markets. He is respected among professional traders for his skilled analysis and career history as global head of trading for firms such as Scotia Capital and BMO Nesbitt Burns. Since joining OANDA in 2006, Dean has played an instrumental role in driving awareness of the forex market as an emerging asset class for retail investors, as well as providing expert counsel to a number of internal teams on how to best serve clients and industry stakeholders.
Dean Popplewell