OPEC+ mulls oil output tweak amid second wave of pandemic

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Saudi Energy Minister, Abdelaziz bin Salman, said on Tuesday that major oil countries might have to adapt their current production strategy in the face of the resurging pandemic.

Abdelaziz addressed colleagues among the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a Russia-led group of allies, who were meeting online to review energy markets and to discuss whether to raise oil output in January as agreed, or whether to postpone this step.

While there was good news of possible effective vaccines against the novel coronavirus, the Saudi minister said, a second pandemic wave and new health restrictions in some major markets showed that the virus could yet upset the global economic recovery.

“We must be ready to tweak the terms of our agreement,’’ he said.

The so-called OPEC+ started curbing output in May to bolster prices as the pandemic reduced oil demand.

The group’s plan foresees a gradual easing of these curbs at agreed intervals that are now being debated, ahead of an OPEC+ ministerial meeting on November 30 and December 1.

The Russian Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, noted that the current pandemic measures are hurting demand less than earlier this year.

He, however, cautioned that the pandemic may lead to long lasting changes that could affect oil demand, especially in the aviation industry that depends on business travellers.

“This is the group that may be most affected by new behavioural patterns and online work,’’ Novak said.

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