OPEC is considering whether to exclude oil production estimates provided by the International Energy Agency, a public snub that would follow months of more strident criticism from both sides.
Ministers will discuss it on Thursday, delegates said, asking not to be named because the information is private. A technical committee representing the broader OPEC+ alliance decided already on Wednesday to replace the IEA numbers in its assessments of compliance, according to one delegate.
It represents the culmination of months of sniping between the IEA, which represents the interests of major energy consumers, and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. For several years, the two groups tried to work together more closely, but the severe energy crisis that’s gripped markets for the past six months and the growing push to curb carbon emissions has made cooperation more difficult.
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman has derided the IEA’s proposals for how the world could avoid damaging climate change as “La-La-Land.” When the long rally in oil prices began last year, OPEC+ ministers threw the blame back at the agency, claiming it had been discouraging investment in vital resources.
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which leads OPEC+ along with Saudi Arabia, deepened the rift. IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said he was disappointed in the lack of a response from OPEC+ to the crisis, which drove crude above $100 a barrel. As OPEC disregarded U.S. requests to pump more, the agency led the first coordinated release of oil from its members’ emergency stockpiles in over a decade in an attempt to push prices lower.
The IEA provides one out of six sets of production figures that comprise the so-called “Secondary Sources” estimate of OPEC crude production that appears in the cartel’s monthly report.
The OPEC+ Joint Technical Committee, which assesses how closely member countries respect their production quotas, decided to replace the IEA with figures from Wood Mackenzie Ltd. and Rystad A/S, a delegate said. Whether OPEC itself follows suit may be resolved on Thursday.
The IEA’s press service wasn’t immediately able to comment.