13 April 2017
It is now half time for the six-month oil production cuts agreed by OPEC and eleven non-OPEC countries. So far, the game has gone fairly well for producers. Prices have stabilised again recently after falling by about ten percent in early March, with recent unplanned outages and rising political tension in the Middle East playing a role. For OPEC countries, compliance has been impressive from the start while non-OPEC participants are gradually increasing their compliance rate, although in their case it is harder for analysts to verify the data.
Even at this mid-way point, we can consider what comes next. It is of course OPEC’s business to decide on its output levels, but a consequence of (hypothetically) extending their output cuts beyond the six-month mark would be bigger implied stock draws. This would provide further support to prices, which in turn would offer further encouragement to the US shale oil sector and other producers.