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Opec and allies to boost oil output by slower pace than previous months

The group considered what effects staggering inflation and rising Covid-19 rates may have on global demand for fuel in the autumn.

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Opec, led by Saudi Arabia, and its allies, led by Russia, said they will increase output to 100,000 barrels a day next month (Lisa Leutner/AP)

Opec, led by Saudi Arabia, and its allies, led by Russia, said they will increase output to 100,000 barrels a day next month (Lisa Leutner/AP)

Opec, led by Saudi Arabia, and its allies, led by Russia, said they will increase output to 100,000 barrels a day next month (Lisa Leutner/AP)

The Opec oil cartel and its allies have decided to boost production in September by a much slower pace than in previous months at a time of high oil prices and unstable energy supplies exacerbated by the war Russia has waged in Ukraine.

Opec, led by Saudi Arabia, and its allies, led by Russia, said they will increase output to 100,000 barrels a day next month after raising it by 648,000 barrels per day in July and August.

The group considered what effects staggering inflation and rising Covid-19 rates may have on global demand for fuel in the autumn.

It comes after US President Joe Biden visited Saudi Arabia last month, aiming to improve relations and encourage more oil production from the cartel to draw down high prices at the pump.

The US may go looking for other sources of oil, whether it’s Venezuela or IranJacques Rousseau, Clearview Energy Partners

While fuel prices have been falling, they are still high and posing a political problem for him as inflation surges.

There was no oil production agreement announced after the meeting, but Mr Biden said he expected Opec to take steps to increase production in the coming weeks.

Those hopes did not materialise.

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As a result, “the US may go looking for other sources of oil, whether it’s Venezuela or Iran”, said Jacques Rousseau, managing director at Clearview Energy Partners.

Mr Biden’s administration is also encouraging the US oil and gas industry to increase production.

“You’ve just seen the second-quarter results from some of these companies. They are record profits,” Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser for energy security at the State Department, said on Wednesday on CNBC.

“They should be investing those dollars right back into production increases.”

Despite the modest increase announced by Opec+, the administration was trying to highlight that prices are already falling and could fall further with more domestic production.

“We’re pretty pleased with what we’re seeing” on prices for oil and gas down from highs, but “we know that this is not enough”, Mr Hochstein said.

Any time you increase the target, there’s countries that can’t participateJacques Rousseau, Clearview Energy Partners

A senior Biden administration official called the Opec+ announcement a step forward.

The official said the group has restored all the production cuts it made in 2020 during the depths of the pandemic, when oil prices and demand plummeted.

The group has been gradually adding more oil and gas to the market as economies recovered.

Some Opec nations, such as Angola and Nigeria, have been producing less than the agreed-upon amount.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, on the other hand, have the capacity to increase production.

Opec’s decision appears to be an attempt to appease those countries that cannot produce more, Mr Rousseau said.

“Any time you increase the target, there’s countries that can’t participate,” he added.

“If you only raise production by 100,000 barrels per day, that’s just a small piece for everybody.”

As a result, the amount of oil on the market might not keep up with demand, so high oil prices may persist for some time.

The price of oil rose sharply after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

It fell somewhat since Opec last met but rose modestly on Wednesday.

A barrel of US benchmark crude was selling for just over 94 dollars on Wednesday, compared with more than 105 dollars per barrel a month ago.

Brent crude, the international standard, was selling for just over 100 dollars a barrel on Wednesday, also down from about 110 dollars from a month ago.

Russia’s oil and natural gas exports to the world have declined as many nations imposed sanctions or curtailed buying from the major supplier due to its invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has also reduced or cut off natural gas to a dozen European countries, further driving up energy prices, squeezing people’s spending power and threatening to cause a recession if nations cannot stockpile enough gas to get through the winter.

It was the first official monthly meeting of the Opec+ group since its leader, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, died aged 63 in his home country of Nigeria last month.

Haitham al-Ghais, a veteran of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, took over as secretary general of Opec this week.

In the US, a gallon of regular gasoline was selling for 4.19 dollars on average on Tuesday.

That is substantially lower than in June, when the nationwide average surpassed five dollars a gallon, but it is still painfully high for many frontline workers and families to afford and about 32% higher than what drivers were paying a year ago.


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