OIL MARKET BALANCE
Russia said it could take longer than it had previously forecast for the global oil market to reach a balance between demand and supply after crude prices plunged to $30 per barrel.
The country's energy minister, who said in December that the global oil market could return to a balance by the end of 2016, as long as producers do not raise output from current levels, said on Thursday this may not now happen until early 2017.
Oil prices have fallen by more than 70 percent over the last 18 months, mainly as a result of oversupply. This presents a challenge for Russia, where oil and gas sales account for more than half of its budget revenues.
"It is possible that the period of balance of demand and supply has stretched... There are some estimates that it will happen in early 2017," Novak said on the sidelines of a conference in Moscow.
Russia, a global leader in production, has been pumping oil at a post Soviet record-high of more than 10.8 million barrels per day.
Novak said that oil output and exports are likely to rise even further this year, while domestic producers - buoyed by a weaker rouble and subsequent operating cost declines - have yet to start cutting their investment programmes.
On Wednesday, Deputy Finance Minister Maxim Oreshkin said persistently low oil prices may result in the closure of some crude producing assets in Russia.
Earlier on Thursday, Novak's deputy, Kirill Molodtsov, said that Russian energy ministry officials may meet OPEC before March. It was not immediately clear at what level this possible meeting would take place.
Russia has so far refused to give in to pressure from some OPEC countries to cut oil production to support oil prices, arguing its harsh climate does not allow for a quick restart of wells once they are shut.
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NPD - Preliminary production figures for May 2018 show an average daily production of 1 629 000 barrels of oil, NGL and condensate, which is a decrease of 236 000 barrels per day compared to April.
PLATTS - Libyan crude production has fallen around 400,000 b/d -- or nearly halved -- due to militia attacks on the eastern oil terminals of Ras Lanuf and Es Sider, the head of the country?s National Oil Corp. said Tuesday.
PLATTS - Venezuela's crude output averaged 1.36 million b/d in May, down from 1.41 million b/d in April, and 1.9 million b/d in May 2017, according to S&P Global Platts. The International Energy Agency said it could fall to 800,000 b/d or even lower next year.
PLATTS - Nigerian oil has been slow to sell this month as bidders for the country's July-loading heavy and light sweet crudes have been absent from the market. Market participants pegged the amount of unsold Nigerian barrels loading in July at 20 million-34 million barrels, amounting to roughly 40%-75% of what is produced in a month.