Barkindo Predicts Stability in Oil Market in 2020

In an apparent bid to downplay any need for deeper cuts to oil production by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia, the Secretary-General of the OPEC, Mr. Mohammad Barkindo, yesterday predicted oil market stability in 2020, saying the market outlook for the coming year might have upside potential.

OPEC and its allies, led by Russia, meet in December to review output policy.

The OPEC+ alliance has since January implemented a deal to cut oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day to support the market. The pact runs to March 2020.

Presenting OPEC’s 2019 World Oil Outlook (WOO) 2040 in Vienna, Austria, yesterday, Barkindo said: “Based on the preliminary numbers, 2020 looks like it will have upside potential.”

Asked whether he was more optimistic about the market than he had been in October, when he said all options were open, including a deeper cut, Barkindo replied that the picture had improved.

“There are definitely brighter spots.

“The outlook as we get closer to 2020, the numbers are looking more refined and the picture is looking brighter,’’ he said.

On whether the market looked oversupplied for next year, Barkindo said: “We are not there yet. It is not possible for us at the moment to pre-empt all processes of reviewing the market before the December meeting.”

Barkindo also said Brazil would be welcome to join the oil producer group but the country had not yet made an official request to do so.

“They would be most welcome to join,’’ he told reporters, adding that consultations had taken place in Riyadh.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said last month that he wanted his country to join OPEC, a move that would add the most significant new producer to the oil cartel for years but met with skepticism in Brazil’s energy industry.

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