OPEC meeting tomorrow

by: Michael McAllister

The  rhetoric is already all over the place with quotes from various ministers claiming what can be done and what cannot be done about OPEC production.   You can follow the meeting on OPEC's web site.

The fact is there is very little that can be done.  Only the Saudi's have the capacity to increase production.   According to the Energy Information Administration the Saudi's can increase production by 13% to 11 million barrels a day.  However, the type of oil lacks the quality to be refined for transportation purposes making an increase moot for the driving season, which is upon us. 


This chart is courtesy of the Energy Information Administration and illustrates the lack of capacity.

The May numbers show that OPEC is exceeding the quota by 2% or 600 kb/d.

The quota system seems to have become farcical as some are unable to physically reach it.  Namely, Venezuela (-27%), Indonesia (-50%) and Iran (-4%).   Plus, several countries consistently produce more than their quota calls for:  Algeria (+34%), Nigeria (+12%), Qatar (+11%), Libya (+9%), Saudi Arabia (+7%), Nigeria (+6%) and  Kuwait (+4%).

In the past the call to OPEC had merit and they could respond but those days might be over for awhile.   The Kuwait minister Sheikh Ahmed al-Fahd al-Sabah said that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates will produce more in July.   I cannot refute his claim as Kuwait probably could increase production.    

A symbolic gesture is all I think the cartel can muster from this meeting.  It will be interesting to see what they say about the future.   Is there a timeline when they can increase production?  What is their take on the fourth quarter?   Will the Saudis continue to blame the refining capacity?   At what price does demand get destroyed? 

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