Saudi Arabia's energy minister urges Opec+ to remain flexible on supply cuts

Prince Abdulaziz said the markets 'will not be kind' to producers who flout production curbs

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: Fareed Rahman: Panel discussion featuring UAE energy minister Suhail al Mazrouei and Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman al Saud (pictured) chaired by Editor-in-chief of The National Mina Al-Oraibi at the Future Sustainability Summit. Tuesday, January 14th, 2020. ADNEC, Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Opec+ should remain flexible and be ready to "tweak" the current pact in response to market needs, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister told the alliance’s joint ministerial monitoring committee on Tuesday.

“We must be ready to tweak the terms of our agreements. Flexibility and proactiveness must continue to be the guiding principles of our deliberations today and in the future in order for us to attend to what is necessary,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told delegates in a virtual briefing.

The alliance, headed by Saudi Arabia and Russia, is considering extending the current level of curbs set at 7 million barrels per day for another three months. The group was earlier set to incrementally increase production but is likely to change course due to slowing demand as various countries around the world battle a second wave of the coronavirus.

"There is still a way to go before we reach the other side of the long awaited pandemic,” Prince Abdulaziz told the JMMC.

A wide spread access to vaccines to counter the Covid-19 pandemic would be an “effective mitigator” of the current situation, he said.

Oil rallied briefly, even touching $45 per barrel, after pharma giant Pfizer and subsequently Moderna said the vaccines being trialled were more than 90 per cent effective. It has since pared back gains with Brent, the international crude benchmark, down 0.73 per cent to touch $43.50 per barrel at 7.50pm UAE time. West Texas Intermediate, which tracks US crude grades, was down 0.53 per cent at $41.12 per barrel.

Prince Abdulaziz also remained optimistic about the rebound in oil demand in key centres in Asia, particularly in China and India.

He urged all producers to redouble their efforts to fully comply with the terms of the deal.

"We, as a group, do not want to give the market, any excuse to react negatively. The market will not be kind to those who do not stick to agreements,” the minister said.

Opec will convene its annual meeting alongside non-member producers on December 1.