Oil Slides Toward Worst Loss in a Decade as Russia Mixes Signals

WTI oil price slides under $50 per barrel

Investors are focused on this weekend's G-20 summit in Argentina, where leaders from the U.S., Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia - the world's three biggest oil producers - will gather in a prelude to OPEC's meeting next week in Vienna.

Most people agreed that Russian Federation can't immediately reduce production and if it joins the cuts, it will cut output gradually, like it did the previous time, the source told Reuters. The oil marketing companies also had to take a hit to contain public outcry. Lukoil, Tatneft, Surgutneftegas, Gazprom and Novatek did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

West Texas Intermediate for January delivery fell 91 cents to $50.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:47 a.m., taking WTI's decline this month to 22 percent.

There is need of a cut, but Russian Federation doesn't want to chip in with a large cut, a second source told Reuters.

Brent crude futures were last up 51 cents on the day at $59.27 a barrel, off an earlier session low of $57.50, while US crude futures rose 68 cents to $50.97.

If Russia bore the same proportion of such cuts as it did under the existing agreement, its share of the reduction would amount to 166,000 bpd.

A second source briefed on the discussions said: "We need to reduce but would not want to reduce by much".

For almost a month-since an OPEC/non-OPEC panel signaled that there might be a need to cut oil production by 1 million bpd to balance the market-Russia has warned against any hasty decisions on new production cuts and has not officially said that a cut is needed.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu has disclosed that the Federal Government would collaborate with Saudi Arabia to revamp Nigeria's refineries.

Possibly complicating any decision at next week's talks is the crisis around the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month.

The slump since October is on a par with the 2008 price crash and steeper than that of 2014-2015, both of which prompted OPEC to agree output curbs to support the market.

Russia's latest budget had been built on the assumption of oil at $40, he said.

"We are in contact with OPEC and we are ready to continue our joint efforts if needed", Putin said.

Nairametrics had reported that Saudi Energy Minister, Khalid al-Falih, flew to Abuja to meet with his Nigerian counterpart, Kachikwu, ahead of two very important OPEC meetings scheduled to hold in just a matter of days.

Moscow, however, has repeatedly said that its cooperation with OPEC should and will continue.

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