In what appears to be a material shift in the perceived OPEC balance of power, while Iran (and Iraq) have so far refused to concede to Saudi demands for production cuts, moments ago Reuters reported that in what can only be described as a demonstration of power, Iran proposed that it be Saudi Arabia that foots the entire proposed production cut, by reducing its own production to 9.5 million barrels.
- IRAN PROPOSES IN LETTER TO OPEC THAT SAUDI ARABIA CUT OIL OUTPUT TO 9.5 MLN BPD - OPEC SOURCE
As a reminder, in October Saudi Arabia produced 10.625mmbpd, implying that according to Iran it is Saudi Arabia that should foot the entire production cut "agreed" upon in Algiers.
And at roughly the same time, Iran's Shana news agency, issued an article titled "Irregularities of Regular OPEC Meeting", in which Iran invoked none other than Donald Trump.
This article takes a sketchy look into general condition of the oil market, focusing on stances of three important OPEC and non-OPEC states, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Russia. Saudi Arabia's stances are specially worth contemplating because it has reduced its oil production due to economic conditions and problems facing its oil industry, while trying to compromise with Iran. However, due to political competition of the country with Iran and the tough conditions that election of US President Donald Trump has posed to Saudi Arabia, the country might seek an excuse to harm Algeria agreement and accuse Iran and perhaps Iraq and Russia of defeating OPEC conference in cutting the production ceiling and restoration of stability in the oil market around the acceptable prices.
Global oil prices are affected by a collection of fundamental and non-fundamental variables, including world political developments that affect oil prices through forming expectations in the financial markets.
Over recent weeks, outcome of the US elections, appreciation of dollar compared to other forexes and growth of the indices of the capital and notary bond markets, affected oil prices. Trump victory in the US presidential elections led to growing insecurities in the market because he had in election campaigns pointed to energy policies and directives, which if they are enforced they would entail wide and contradictory consequences for OPEC and the world oil markets. In the past months, the US has imported 107 million barrels per month crude oil and oil products from OPEC on the average, which is 3.6 million barrels per day on the average. Saudi Arabia with 1.2 million barrels per day and Venezuela with 830,000 barrels per day supplied the highest amount of crude oil and related products to the US. So, any restriction on import of OPEC crude by the US would lead to a two-layer market worldwide and encourage harsh competition among the countries to gain a quota in other important oil markets such as China, Japan, India and the like.
So, the OPEC session will be held under conditions that international relations have changed as a result of the unexpected result of US elections and complicated relations among the OPEC members, especially political competitions of the Saudi government in the region with the Islamic Republic of Iran can affect the talks. Generally speaking, oil markets face global demand despite growing insecurities. However, the market faces oversupply and waits OPEC decision on November 30 so as to see whether the oversupply to the market will be removed. Oil market equilibrium is highly fragile now; due to the same reason, failure of OPEC in reaching a consensus for cut in the production to the level of 32.5 million barrels per day will result in the price decline. The main reason for fall in the oil prices will eventually culminate in oversupply to the market and the oversupply is expected to continue until end of 2017 in case of OPEC failure to reach an executive accord to cut the production to the specified level.
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Oil market experts cite several reasons for seriousness and insistence of Saudi Arabia to reach an executive accord to cut the OPEC oil production ceiling. Of course, Saudi conduct after Trump election as US President has been to some extent different with that previously.
As a result, what until just a few days ago was seen a "sure thing" agreement by OPEC tomorrow, now appears to be on the edge of collapse.