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OPEC+ rebuffs US calls for speedier oil output increases


LONDON: Opec and its allies agreed at a meeting on Thursday to stick to plans to raise oil output by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) from December, despite calls from the United States for extra supply to cool rising prices.

The White House said Washington would consider a full range of tools at its disposal to guarantee access to affordable energy.

All oil producers suffered a drop in income during the Covid-19 pandemic and as demand recovers with the global economy it has allowed them to rebuild their balance sheets. Opec+ supply restraint has underpinned a rally that has pushed global benchmark Brent crude to a three-year high of $86.70.

Top Opec producer Saudi Arabia has dismissed calls for speedier oil supply increases from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, collectively known as Opec+, citing economic headwinds.

Opec+ sources said the United States has plenty of capacity to raise production itself if it believes the world’s economy needs more energy. Sources have said Saudi Arabia and Russia are becoming more confident that the higher prices will not elicit a fast increase in output by the US shale gas industry.

Producers are concerned about going too fast, fearing renewed setbacks in the battle against the pandemic and the speed of economic recovery, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Thursday.

He said oil stocks will see “tremendous” builds at the end of 2021 and early 2022 because of slowing consumption.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that since August Opec has already added 2 million bpd to global supply and will continue with its plan to add another 400,000 bpd each month in the later part of 2021 and the early months of 2022.

— Reuters

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