Oman, Kuwait urge oil producers to pursue cooperation


KUWAIT CITY – Omani and Kuwaiti oil ministers on Monday called on OPEC and non-OPEC producers to continue their unprecedented cooperation to maintain stability in the energy market.

Producers from the OPEC oil cartel and non-OPEC countries struck a deal in 2016 to trim production by 1.8 million barrels per day to rebalance the market after its collapse in 2014.

The deal, which runs out at the end of this year, has succeeded in boosting oil prices above $70 a barrel from below $30 a barrel in early 2016.

“I call for the signatories of the [cooperation] declaration agreement, those 24 nations from OPEC and non-OPEC, to continue the dialogue, the understanding and commitment in maintaining the market conditions that will encourage investment,” Omani Oil Minister Mohamed al-Rumhi told an oil conference in Kuwait.

He also called for enhancing “collaboration and work together to ensure security of supply for consumers and security of demand for producers”.

Kuwait’s Oil Minister Bakheet al-Rasheedi said he believes that oil producers were on the right path to restore stability to the oil market.

“A year ago, there was a surplus of 340 million barrels of oil. At the end of February, the surplus dropped to 50 million barrels and we believe we are on the right path to get rid of this surplus,” Rasheedi told reporters.

He said that the OPEC and non-OPEC cooperation will be reviewed at an OPEC meeting in June.

“Market conditions will determine whether the deal will be extended beyond 2018 or arrive at a permanent agreement… to support the market on a long-term basis,” he said.

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and several other countries have called for striking a long-term cooperation deal to stabilize the oil market.

OPEC secretary general Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo told the Kuwait conference that the 2016 deal achieved a great success in overcoming the “worst cycle in the history of oil”.

A “new chapter is being authored” by OPEC and non-OPEC producers to continue cooperation, he said.

“In the months ahead, we will look to institutionalize this long-term framework for continuity with an inclusive and broad-based participation,” Barkindo said.

The joint ministerial committee of OPEC and non-OPEC ministers, which monitors compliance to production cuts, meets in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Friday to review adherence and discuss long-term cooperation.