OPEC leaders in Saudi Arabia to discuss oil production levels

World Today

Top OPEC leaders are in Saudi Arabia discussing their next steps. As CGTN’s Jacob Greaves reports, regional geo-politics have cast a shadow over the meetings.

Some of the top oil exporting nations were represented in Jeddah but it was events outside these halls that had officials talking.

Last week, drones targeted two Saudi Aramco oil pumping stations and a key pipeline.

The incident came just two days after four commercial ships were attacked in waters near the United Arab Emirates amid heightened tensions between Iran and the United States.

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said global supplies were rising and there was no shortage. He recommended driving oil inventories down.

“There is a lot of concern, and we acknowledge it about disruptions,” said Khalid al-Falih the Saudi Arabian Energy Minister.

OPEC-Plus, an alliance including Russia, has been reducing output by 1.2 million barrels per day since January.

With the U.S. tightening sanctions on Iran, the bloc is facing pressure to boost production to lower prices. Energy officials says the meeting will also likely be shaped by market data.

“There’s still several market factors that are still unclear and the key one there is the effect of the sanctions on Iran. The U.S. decision to withdraw waivers only really comes into effect at the start of May so we’re only two weeks into that now. Tankers take a long time to arrive at their markets so by June we will have at least a month’s information about how much production is actually being taken off the market by that decision, which customers Iran still has,” said Robin Mills the CEO Qamar Energy.

Instability in Libya and Venezuela also threatens to dent global supplies.

United States President Donald Trump continues to push Gulf allies to boost output. So far, they’ve been unwilling to do anything that might lower the price below $70 a barrel.

The gathering in Jeddah brought about no major shift, so for now, OPEC is not expected to make any decisions until the next meeting.