Saudi Arabia Said Likely to Back OPEC Extending Output Cuts

  • Riyadh hasn’t taken a final decision on the production curbs
  • OPEC will meet in Vienna late next month to discuss its policy

Saudis May Back Extending Oil Output Cuts

Saudi Arabia is likely to support extending OPEC output cuts into the second half of 2017 in an effort to boost oil prices, according to a person familiar with the kingdom’s internal discussions.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is scheduled to gather in Vienna on May 25 to discuss whether to roll over for another six months the 1.2 million barrels a day in production cuts it implemented in January. Several OPEC countries, including Kuwait, have expressed public support for an extension.

While Riyadh is likely to support extending the curbs to end a three-year oil glut, the kingdom hasn’t taken a final decision yet, the person said, asking not to be identified because the conversations aren’t public. Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, will decide on an extension depending on the stance of other OPEC nations such as Iraq and Iran, as well as Russia, which isn’t a member of the group but joined the output cuts, the person said.

West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, was up 0.2 percent at $53.53 a barrel as of 12:40 p.m. in Singapore on Wednesday. Brent crude, the global benchmark, traded at $56.39 a barrel, within the $50-to-$60 price range that has prevailed since OPEC agreed with Russia and other non-OPEC countries to cut production late last year.

OPEC pledged to reduce output by 1.2 million barrels a day, with Saudi Arabia taking the bulk of the cuts -- and so far reducing production deeper that it agreed. Russia, Mexico, Kazakhstan and several other non-OPEC countries agreed to cut output by nearly 600,000 barrels a day. The non-OPEC group has so far delivered less than what it promised.

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