Dec 7, 2018 - Energy & Environment

Russia, OPEC agree to cut oil production

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih.

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih. Photo: Askin Kiyagan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Russia and OPEC have struck a deal to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day that could make a dent in the oil supply glut, the WSJ reports. Iran scored an exemption from the cuts since it is subject to U.S. sanctions, per Bloomberg.

Why it matters: The agreement reached in Vienna should help prop up prices that have been largely tumbling for roughly two months, a collapse that threatened the finances of Saudi Arabia and other petro-states.

Prices climbed sharply as news of the agreement emerged Friday — by as much as 6%, and trading above $63 per barrel in London, per Bloomberg.

The big picture: Failure to reach a significant deal would have been a major setback for cartel's already diminished ability to influence global markets, which have been re-shaped by the rise of the U.S. into one of the world's three dominant producers alongside Russia and Saudi Arabia.

  • It would have also been a blow to the future of the supply management partnership between Saudi Arabia and Russia (among other OPEC and non-OPEC players) in place for the last two years.

What they're saying: "OPEC, or more precisely Saudi Arabia, has been the head honcho of the oil world for nearly six decades. Yet these days it seems unable to make a decision without Russia’s blessing, let alone without risking the wrath of the U.S. President," said PVM Oil Associates Ltd. analyst Stephen Brennock in remarks quoted by Bloomberg and the WSJ.

What's next: One thing to watch is the reaction of President Trump, who has been publicly urging OPEC not to cut production.

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