The Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi exudes optimism

The Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi exudes optimism

Giacomo Maniscalco
Share
The main actors present at the Atlantic Council event say they are hopeful about the future of oil prices while Beijing's imports are raising demand

Oil prices have continued to be very volatile since the agreement reached on production cuts among OPEC members, with the addition of 11 countries outside the cartel. If fully implemented, the reduction in output could cut the daily excess by 1.8 million bbl/day. In compliance with commitments undertaken, Saudi Arabia, the largest oil producer globally, said it has lowered its output to under 10 million bbl/day, a figure larger in volume than the reduction originally promised, amounting to 486,000 bpd. In addition to the OPEC cuts, oil prices are also being driven up by the continuing increase in Chinese imports. After a 2016 featuring growth over the previous year of 14% - or 381,01 million tons, around 7.65 million of bbl/day - the trend appears to be continuing over into the first month of 2017. According to International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts, Beijing's imports will continue to rise, slowed down only by the corresponding price increases.
The Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum held at Abu Dhabi was the ideal meeting place for discussion on the future of OPEC cuts, allowing for an optimistic view of the next meeting, to be held in Vienna on 21 January, during which the effectiveness of the agreement will be rated. Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui, Minister of Petroleum of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has declared that "the market is moving in the right direction, but we will see the real difference with the action of the whole group," he said, referring in particular to the major producing countries outside of OPEC, Russia and Oman. The minister added: "Personally, I have absolute confidence in the commitment of these countries." OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, referring to the OPEC and non-OPEC countries, declared: "I remain very confident with what I have seen in the last several months, the level of commitment from both sides is unparalleled."The OPEC countries called upon to cut production also include Angola, which should reduce its oil output by 87,000 bbl/day, which would bring the country’s share to 1.683 million bbl/day. And Nigeria aims at becoming Africa's leading producer. After many months of decline in production of up to 700,000 bbl/day due to persistent attacks by militants to plants and pipelines, the country is experiencing a period of uninterrupted production since June 2016, which has allowed it to reach the level of 1,77 bbl/day. Nigerian Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu announced that the country aims to continue along these lines in 2017, seeking investment opportunities in manufacturing and oil refining.