Opec and its oil-producing allies have agreed to cut production by 1.2m barrels a day, defying Donald Trump’s calls to keep output high and sending crude prices rocketing 5 percent higher. The deal was hammered out at the Opec Secretariat in Vienna on Friday following two days of fractious talks, with Saudi Arabia, Opec’s largest producer and de facto leader, pushing as many members as possible to join the cut.
The Saudi pressure comes despite the US president’s exhortations for Riyadh to maintain low prices, which Mr. Trump has likened to “a big tax cut” for the world, and reflects the kingdom’s need for higher oil revenues to meet its ambitious domestic spending plans. Brent crude, the international benchmark, jumped as much as 5 percent to above $63 a barrel, while US benchmark West Texas Intermediate gained 4.3 percent to $54 a barrel. Khalid al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, insisted the reduction, which came after 48 hours during which negotiators warned a deal may be unreachable, would help the US despite Mr. Trump’s objections.
“The biggest oil and gas producer is the United States,” Mr. Falih said. “[US shale] producers are probably breathing a sigh of relief.” Opec delegates said the deal was aimed at damping concerns about an emerging supply glut that has pushed prices 30 percent lower in the past two months. Ann-Louise Hittle at consultancy Wood Mackenzie said the cuts, which are bigger than some analysts had expected, would “help tighten the market by the second half of next year.” The higher volume cut agreed is in line with what traders and analysts said would be necessary to balance supplies with demand next year.
The cuts will be taken from October production levels and will last for six months. The breakdown between each country will not be disclosed to the oil market, delegates said, in a sign of the tensions in the alliance. One delegate said the 1.2m b/d cut would be split 800,000 b/d for Opec members and 400,000 for countries outside the cartel, including Russia, which have allied with Opec since 2016.