Top oil producers Saudi Arabia and Russia are pushing to extend their deal to limit crude oil production for another three months, which would leave the output deal between OPEC and non-OPEC producers in place through the end of June, people familiar with the matter said.
Oman’s petroleum and other liquids production averaged more than 1 million barrels per day in 2016, its highest production level ever. Oman was on track to maintain this production level in 2017, but it reduced production to approximately 970,000 barrels per day in early 2017 to meet the production cut it agreed to, along with members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Bahrain’s fiscal and external vulnerabilities have increased in the wake of the oil price decline. Overall GDP grew 3 percent in 2016, supported by strong growth of 3.7 percent in the non-oil sector aided by the implementation of GCC-funded projects. Average inflation remained moderate at 2.8 percent. Bank deposit and private sector credit growth slowed. The banking sector remains well capitalized and liquid. Despite the implementation of significant fiscal adjustment, lower oil prices meant that the overall fiscal deficit reached nearly 18 percent of GDP and government debt rose to 82 percent of GDP. The current account deficit widened to 4.7 percent. International reserves have declined.
The economy is weathering the post-2014 oil shock well. The key policy goal is to foster economic adjustment to the new oil market realities. To foster the adjustment, especially given downside risks, the momentum in fiscal reforms needs to be sustained and coordinated with structural reforms. To ensure credibility, fiscal adjustment should be accompanied by strengthening the medium-term policy framework and improving transparency. Ongoing initiatives to upgrade the supervisory and regulatory framework for the financial sector are welcome and need to continue. Focused, multi-pronged initiatives to raise productivity and diversify the economy would improve medium-term economic prospects. Amid ongoing economic adjustment, continued improvements in statistics are critical for enhancing policy analysis and decision-making.
“Saudi Aramco plans to invest more than $300 billion over the coming decade to reinforce our preeminent position in oil, maintain our spare oil production capacity and pursue a large exploration and production program centered on conventional and unconventional gas resources.”
Saudi Arabia will cut crude oil shipments to its customers in August by more than 600,000 barrels per day to balance the rise in domestic consumption during the summer, while staying within its OPEC production commitment, a Saudi industry source said.
Qatar mounted what appeared to be a show of strength on Tuesday, when the state-owned Qatar Petroleum announced plans to raise liquefied natural gas capacity by 30 percent. Its immediate effect will be to worsen a glut on the LNG market where Australia, the United States and Russia vie.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on Monday cut ties with Qatar, accusing the country of supporting extremism. Qatar denies the allegations.
Qatar and Russia have long been rivals in global gas markets. Qatar's supplies came under the spotlight in the past month after Saudi Arabia cut economic and diplomatic ties, in a move ratcheting up a wider violent and diplomatic conflict in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia effectively grew its recoverable oil resources by 73 billion barrels this year after lower tax rates for state producer Saudi Aramco boosted the country's estimated prospective resources.