OPEC+ came to an agreement earlier this month to institute record-breaking production cuts of nearly 10 million barrels per day. The production cuts were set to take effect on May 1st, but some members have taken it upon themselves to start earlier. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have both made the decision to start scaling back production to work towards the production cut goal. Saudi Arabia has scaled back production from 12 million barrels per day(bpd) over the weekend to reach its goal of 8.5 million bpd. Kuwait is OPEC’s fourth largest producer and they have also made the decision to start the cuts early. Kuwait’s Oil Minister Khaled Al-Fadhel said that starting the cuts early was because they felt a responsibility to address the market conditions.
Over the weekend, it came as a surprise to the oil industry when prices crashed more than 30% after the recent OPEC+ alliance issued an all-out price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, leading the market with cheaper oil. During the OPEC+ meeting last week, Russia rejected a proposal to cut 1.5 million barrels per day of production.
In an attempt to curtail the downward plunge of global oil prices, Russia is considering supporting cuts among OPEC and its partners. On Thursday, Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s top diplomat, confirmed Russia’s support for production cuts following a conversation between President Putin and the King of Saudi Arabia. However, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday that Russia needs a few days analyze the oil market and clarify its position.
This past Monday, China has launched its new oil and gas pipeline group. This group consists of multiple assets combined into one group with a net worth of between 80 – 105 Billion USD. This has been a plan of China for years, but according to reports, it was just approved this past year.
After the recent attacks on the oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia, demand for spot crude oil has risen. Russian oil demand has been very strong in the Asian market as a result of it. With recent U.S. sanctions on Chinese cargo ships, freight rates have spiked on tankers in the Pacific. This has prompted the Asian market to bid on freight that ship shorter distances, making the option of Russian crude oil more desirable.