Oil prices surged on Wednesday amid reports that the 14-member OPEC will be able to reach an agreement to cut oil production during their meet in Vienna.
Terming the development, which threatened to be a stalemate earlier, as a big step forward, Mriganka Jaipuriyar, Associate Editorial Director of Platts, said the conciliatory tones taken by Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia show that market stability is on their minds. This is a positive for the markets, she added.
Jaipuriyar believes that with an agreement in place, the downside for crude may be limited. It will, however, be important to see if OPEC nations comply with deal going ahead, she said.
Before the meeting, Iran and Iraq said they were optimistic about arriving at an agreement. Iranian oil minister said that they haven’t still finalised a deal, but are optimistic. Also, reports indicated that Iraq oil minister has agreed to a production cut.
Two months ago, the 14-member oil body had agreed on a production cut between 32.5 million barrels a day and 33 million b/d, without details on how much each member nation will reduce output.
Miswin Mahesh, Energy Analyst at Barclays said he believes that it would be a face-saving deal, but will have a wait till the end of the day.
Hamza Khan of ING Financial Markets said the knee-jerk reaction of oil prices reaching USD50/barell won’t be sustainable irrespective of the outcome of meeting. The average price should hover around USD 45 by December and in case of a stalemate, prices could slip to USD39 a barrel.
Below is the verbatim transcript of Mriganka Jaipuriyar’s interview to Sonia Shenoy, Anuj Singhal and Manisha Gupta on CNBC-TV18.
Sonia: What did you make of the comments that came in from the three Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) ministers?
A: Yes, this is a big surprise like we were discussing earlier today. It was a 50:50 chance of OPEC arriving at this decision. This does two things. Of course it will bring forward the rebalancing in oil demand and supply and it restores OPEC's credibility. OPEC will now again be viewed as an organisation that can lead to market stability. So, this is really big news and the details are still a bit sketchy but overall it sounds like a deal is in the making and it sounds like Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia are putting their heads together and they seem to have agreed on something which is a big step forward from what we have seen in the course of this year so far.
Manisha: Just coming to the point on whatever mostly was discussed in Algiers really seems to be taking form right now. Nigeria and Libya has been exempted out of this. Iran can perhaps go back to its pre-sanctioned levels. So we pretty seems to be coming on a deal and the biggest thing of course is that the Saudi minister said that the whole of 2017 perhaps this deal would be on. How would you react to that?
A: Yes, like I said this is a big step forward because between the Algiers meeting and right until this morning the comments and the views were very mixed on whether OPEC would actually be successful in implementing something of an agreement of this kind. So, the fact that they have agreed goes to show that they are concerned about market stability and unlike 2014 when holding market share was top of everyone's agenda, market stability seems to be on top of everyone's agenda this time and that is good news for the oil markets.
Q: Another thing. Since we have seen a run up in the prices already, the finer print is yet to come in. Would you say that while the knee-jerk reaction has been done, how much would you see the prices holding around these levels for the rest of the day now?
A: there is definitely the downside of going to be limited with this agreement. Of course, this is a knee-jerk reaction, prices going up and 5-6 percent within a couple of a few minutes of and tentative agreement being announced. We still do not know what the finer details are. Going forward, what we will need to watch out for is compliance. Compliance with the agreement, so everyone will be keeping a very close eye on production beta coming out of these countries. It is very hard to regulate and monitor how much each country is producing and beta is also very sketchy. So that is something that everyone will be watching out for.