OPEC+ Unlikely to Tweak Oil Policy in Monday Talks

Trucks wait outside the Guwahati Refinery operated by Indian Oil Corporation, in Guwahati on March 30, 2023. (Photo by Biju BORO / AFP)
Trucks wait outside the Guwahati Refinery operated by Indian Oil Corporation, in Guwahati on March 30, 2023. (Photo by Biju BORO / AFP)
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OPEC+ Unlikely to Tweak Oil Policy in Monday Talks

Trucks wait outside the Guwahati Refinery operated by Indian Oil Corporation, in Guwahati on March 30, 2023. (Photo by Biju BORO / AFP)
Trucks wait outside the Guwahati Refinery operated by Indian Oil Corporation, in Guwahati on March 30, 2023. (Photo by Biju BORO / AFP)

OPEC+ is likely to stick to its existing deal to cut oil output at a meeting on Monday, five delegates from the producer group told Reuters, after oil prices recovered following a drop to 15-month lows.

Oil has recovered towards $80 a barrel for Brent crude after falling to near $70 on March 20, as fears ease about a global banking crisis and as a halt in exports from Iraq's Kurdistan region curbs supplies.

OPEC+, which comprises the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, is due to hold a virtual meeting of its ministerial monitoring panel, which includes Russia and Saudi Arabia, on Monday.

"It is hard to expect any new development," one of the delegates said of Monday's talks. Another said the Kurdistan curbs and recent price drops were not sufficiently important to affect the overall OPEC+ policy path for 2023.

Three other OPEC+ delegates also said any policy changes were unlikely on Monday. After those talks, the next full OPEC+ meeting is not until June.

Falling oil prices are a problem for most OPEC+ members because their economies rely heavily on oil revenue.

Even so, OPEC+ delegates did not raise any suggestion of further action to support the market after the recent price drop and predicted prices would stabilize - which they have since shown signs of doing.

Last November, OPEC+ reduced its output target by 2 million barrels per day - the largest cut since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The same reduction applies for the whole of 2023.



Report: US Ready to Reopen Oil Stockpile if Petrol Prices Surge Again

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Phillips 66 Company's Los Angeles Refinery (foreground), which processes domestic & imported crude oil into gasoline, aviation and diesel fuels, and storage tanks for refined petroleum products at the Kinder Morgan Carson Terminal (background), at sunset in Carson, California, US, March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Bing Guan/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A view of the Phillips 66 Company's Los Angeles Refinery (foreground), which processes domestic & imported crude oil into gasoline, aviation and diesel fuels, and storage tanks for refined petroleum products at the Kinder Morgan Carson Terminal (background), at sunset in Carson, California, US, March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Bing Guan/File Photo
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Report: US Ready to Reopen Oil Stockpile if Petrol Prices Surge Again

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Phillips 66 Company's Los Angeles Refinery (foreground), which processes domestic & imported crude oil into gasoline, aviation and diesel fuels, and storage tanks for refined petroleum products at the Kinder Morgan Carson Terminal (background), at sunset in Carson, California, US, March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Bing Guan/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A view of the Phillips 66 Company's Los Angeles Refinery (foreground), which processes domestic & imported crude oil into gasoline, aviation and diesel fuels, and storage tanks for refined petroleum products at the Kinder Morgan Carson Terminal (background), at sunset in Carson, California, US, March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Bing Guan/File Photo

The Biden administration is ready to release more oil from the US strategic stockpile to stop any jump in petrol prices this summer, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

Senior Biden adviser Amos Hochstein told the newspaper that oil prices are "still too high for many Americans” and he would like to see them “cut down a little bit further.”

Hochstein, speaking to the FT said that the US would "continue to purchase into next year, until we think that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) has the volume that it needs again to serve its original purpose of energy security."

The Energy Department this year has been buying about 3 million barrels of oil per month for the SPR after selling 180 million barrels in 2022 following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The move was an effort to curb gasoline prices that spiked to more than $5.00 a gallon, but it also reduced the reserve to its lowest level in 40 years.

Earlier this month, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told Reuters that the US could hasten the rate of replenishing the SPR as maintenance on the stockpile is completed by the end of the year.