Iraq will go into next week's monthly Opec and Opec+ meetings without any pre-conceived notions about what the producer group should do to address the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant and the announcement last week of coordinated release of strategic crude reserves by leading consumer countries.
Opec and its non-Opec partners, known collectively as Opec+, will meet on 1-2 December to determine oil production policy for January. The group has been raising its crude oil production quotas incrementally by 400,000 b/d each month since August, in line with a roadmap that was agreed at its July meeting to gradually restore the production it removed from the market in May 2020 in response to the Covid-19 induced collapse in oil demand.
But they are now weighing calls to possibly make changes to policy for January to reflect the changes in market conditions.
In addition to a widely anticipated surplus that is projected to begin growing from the first quarter of next year, the group must now also consider the recent announcement of a coordinated release of up to 70mln of extra crude from strategic petroleum reserves by major consumers, as well as the emergence of the potentially more contagious 'Omicron' Covid-19 variant.
"We do not have any expectation about whether the current monthly increase of 400,000 b/d [each] month will continue or not, as member states will wait for market research reports that give a clear vision," Iraqi oil minister Ihsan Ismail said in a statement to state-run Iraq News Agency (INA). "The decision will be based on what is provided by technical experts," he said.
Iraq joins Mideast Gulf crude producers Kuwait and the UAE whose oil and energy ministers also said last week they would not take a position on Opec+ policy before the group meets.
Opec ministers are due to meet virtually on 1 December, followed by a full meeting of Opec and non-Opec ministers on 2 December.
By Adal Mirza
Argus Media Limited published this content on 28 November 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 28 November 2021 15:09:00 UTC.