Oil prices fall amid OPEC+ impasse on output

Sunbd Desk || Published: 2021-01-05 10:06:24 || Updated: 2021-01-05 10:06:24

Global oil prices fell on Monday after OPEC+ members failed to reach agreement on output levels.

A majority of members of the producers’ alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Russia rejected proposals to increase supply amid new fears of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell back from earlier highs as it became apparent that OPEC+ could not reach a consensus. Delegates at the meeting said Russia and Kazakhstan wanted to increase output by 500,000 barrels per day from next month, while the rest of the 23-member bloc sought to delay an increase until economic indicators improved.

The meeting will resume today, amid optimism a deal can be reached. “Our efforts will continue, and we are close to an agreement,” one energy official told Arab News.

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, was among those who urged caution on the OPEC+ group despite rising crude prices and hopes of a vaccine-led economic recovery.

“At the risk of being seen as a killjoy in these proceedings, I want to urge caution. The new variant of the disease is a worrying and unpredictable development,” the minister said.

“Do not put at risk all that we have achieved for the sake of an instant, but illusory, benefit.”

Other countries who sought a delay in the output increase included the UAE, Kuwait, Iraq, Nigeria and Azerbaijan, according to the official.

Oil analysts played down fears of a repetition of the fallout between Russia and Saudi Arabia last March, which led to a spike in oil output just as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were impacting the global economy. “The market dynamics are entirely different now,” one said.

Brent closed at $51.15, having briefly touched $53 earlier in the day, its highest level since

March 2020. ArabNews

Sunbd/NJ

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