OPEC president confident world oil market will balance out in 2018

ABU DHABI (AFP) – UAE Energy Minister and OPEC president Suheil al-Mazrouei insisted yesterday that oil producers can balance out supply and demand this year as they stick to a production cut deal.

“Rebalancing is continuing…all factors are positive and we are capable of achieving a balance” by end 2018, Mazrouei told CNBC Arabia television.

The minister, who is OPEC president for 2018, said he expected “healthy growth in oil demand” this year as strong economic expansion across the globe continues.

He said that oil stocks have continued to decline, but insisted that “we still have another 100 million barrels left that we intend to reduce.”

The 14 members of the OPEC cartel and 10 non-members agreed in December to extend to the end of 2018 an oil cut agreement that has helped push up crude prices as they recover from a dramatic slump.

Producers have hailed the cut of 1.8 million barrels per day as a major boost for crude markets and say implementation is at 122 per cent.

Mazrouei said that it is important for OPEC and non-OPEC producers to continue their compliance to the deal that was first struck in 2016.

The number of producers who have joined the deal has climbed to 30 countries from 24 originally, he said.

Since the pact took effect in January 2017, oil prices – which fell to under $30 a barrel in 2016 on the back of a production glut – have now recovered to just under $70.