OPEC, Russia prepared to raise oil output amid U.S. pressure
ST PETERSBURG/DUBAI, (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia and Russia are discussing raising OPEC and nonOPEC oil production by some 1 million barrels a day, sources said, weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump complained about artificially high prices.
Riyadh and Moscow are prepared to ease output cuts to calm consumer worries about supply adequacy, their energy ministers said on Friday, with Saudi Arabia’s Khalid al-Falih adding that any such move would be gradual so as not to shock the market.
Raising production would ease 17 months of strict supply curbs amid concerns that a price rally has gone too far, with oil having hit its highest since late 2014 at $80.50 a barrel this month.
Trump tweeted last month that OPEC had “artificially” boosted oil prices.
“We were in the meeting in Jeddah, when we read the tweet,” OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said, referring to a meeting in Saudi Arabia on April 20.
“I think I was prodded by his excellency Khalid Al-Falih that probably there was a need for us to respond. We in OPEC always pride ourselves as friends of the United States,” Barkindo told a panel with the Saudi and Russian energy ministers in St. Petersburg at Russia’s main economic forum.
OPEC officials said by “the need to respond” Barkindo was referring to a tweet he sent the same day, rather than the need to act.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia have agreed to curb output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) through 2018 to reduce global stocks, but the inventory overhang is now near OPEC’s target.