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OPEC President Says Oil Market Rebalancing, Pandemic Still a Risk

OPEC President Says Oil Market Rebalancing, Pandemic Still a Risk

Tuesday, 2 March, 2021 - 14:45
A 3D printed oil pump jack in front of the OPEC logo | REUTERS

The global oil market is rebalancing after damage to demand wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic was met with curbs on output by producers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the group's president said on Tuesday.

"Crude prices are relatively stable ... we see a certain balance between demand and supply," OPEC president Diamantino Azevedo told Reuters in an interview.

"However, due to the pandemic situation the world is living through and with new waves arriving, we could have a situation of smaller demand due to confinements. Vaccination of the global population against COVID-19 will certainly increase demand".

OPEC other key exporters such as Russia, a grouping dubbed OPEC+, meet on Thursday and are expected to discuss allowing as much as 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) back into the market to address demand likely to be unlocked later in the year as vaccine programs gather pace.

But Azevedo, Angola's minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum and who occupies OPEC's rotating presidency, warned that any worsening of the pandemic could lead producers to tamp down output.

"The production levels that were desirable at the time of the latest adjustment could naturally be affected downward due to ... the COVID-19 pandemic and its variants," he added.

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