Thursday, June 20, 2024

OPEC heavyweights are cheating on their targets

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The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, a group that produces 40% of the world’s crude, wants to keep oil prices high and stable. Lately they have certainly been stable, even if not that high. Despite the recent death of Iran’s president and the escalating war in Gaza, prices of Brent crude, the global benchmark, have stayed within $2 of $82 a barrel since the start of May.

Part of the reason why OPEC is failing to keep prices high is because its members are failing to keep to their output targets. In March the group’s leaders and Russia extended production cuts, vowing a reduction of 2.2m barrels a day (b/d), or 2% of global supply, until the end of June, on top of 3.7m b/d of previously agreed cuts for 2024. Yet the cartel is now overproducing so much that its daily output in 2024 is little changed from the last quarter of 2023. This will create tensions when members get together to decide their strategy at OPEC’s ministerial meeting on June 2nd.

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