Dec 12, 2019 - Energy & Environment

OPEC is still having a hard time exerting its sway amid U.S. oil boom

Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman al-Saud
Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman al-Saud on Dec. 5. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images

A new International Energy Agency report underscores why oil markets haven't been hugely impressed with last week's OPEC+ decision to deepen their output curbs.

Driving the news: The agency's latest closely watched monthly report projects that global oil stockpiles could increase by 700,000 barrels per day in the first quarter of 2020.

  • It also sees the "strong build in inventories" continuing in the second quarter.
  • That increase is projected even with less output from the OPEC+ countries — which deepened their cuts by 500,000 barrels per day — and slowing production growth projections for the U.S., Brazil and Ghana.

Why it matters: The projection is the latest sign of how OPEC is having a hard time exerting its sway amid the U.S. boom and other headwinds.

Where it stands: Brent crude is trading at roughly $63.97 this morning. The report notes that it was at $63-per-barrel on the eve of last week's OPEC+ meeting in Vienna.

  • "[T]he market has done its own sums and the reaction to oil’s new deal has so far been muted," IEA said.

The intrigue: The report also notes that the efficacy of the latest production-limiting deal is something of a question mark.

  • "[T]he overall effectiveness of the OPEC+ agreement depends on the willingness of all its parties to fully comply, including those whose compliance so far has been less rigorous."

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