Russian oil firms more eager to extend than to deepen output cuts

Russian oil firms more eager to extend than to deepen output cuts

The majority of Russian oil companies are on board with extending the agreement to cut oil production through the end of Q2, but most did not support deepening those cuts, according to Ravil Maganov, first executive vice president of Lukoil cited by S&P Global Platts, Oil Price reports. Oil prices have fallen more than 20% since the start of the year as the coronavirus has stifled demand for crude oil, causing OPEC to rethink its production cut strategy.

The comment was made after Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak met on Wednesday with Kazakh energy minister Nurlan Nogayev and then representatives from Russian oil companies to discuss OPEC’s recommendations.

Last week, OPEC+’s joint technical committee recommended extending the current production cuts to the end of the year, and deeper cuts—another 600,000 bpd—through the end of Q2. But Russian oil companies, unsurprisingly, aren’t scrambling for a chance to cut more production.

Gazprom Neft’s CEO Alexander Dyukov said that “Given the current situation on the market, it makes sense to extend the agreement through the second quarter and then monitor.”

Nogayev, on the other hand, seemed more receptive to the idea of different cuts, saying that Kazakhstan would work out “a joint position” with Russia where Kazakhstan would cut another 20,000 bpd, cautioning that no final decision had yet been made.

In reality, the final decision lies with the government, not the individual oil companies. 

OPEC+ has discussed the possibility of moving up its March 5-6 meeting in order to discuss how best to address the current state of the oil market. Whatever decision is eventually made, Russia will need to be on board, as OPEC no longer has enough clout on its own to manipulate the oil markets like it used to.

OPEC on Wednesday slashed global oil demand growth to 990,000 bpd in 2020, down by 230,000 bpd, as the virus takes its toll.