Oil Futures Whipsawed as OPEC+ Underdelivers on Cuts

Brian L Milne
By  Brian L. Milne , DTN Refined Fuels Editor

CRANBURY, N.J. (DTN) -- West Texas Intermediate futures (WTI) on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and Brent crude on the Intercontinental Exchange fell more than 2% in afternoon trading Thursday after the official communique following an Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia-led ministerial meeting maintained June 4 production quotas into 2024, while some members agreed to voluntary output cuts.

Saudi Arabia, Russia and certain members of OPEC+ agreed to voluntary output cuts of 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first quarter of 2024, according to Reuters, citing a statement by OPEC. Of the total, Saudi Arabia rolled over a 1 million bpd production cut that's been in place since July into the first quarter as widely expected while Russia boosted its pledged reduction in oil exports from a current 300,000 bpd to 500,000 bpd.

According to Reuters, eight of the now 24 countries that are part of OPEC+ agreed to voluntarily reduce supply in the first quarter. Brazil joins the OPEC+ coalition in January, said OPEC.

In addition to Saudi Arabia and Russia, Iraq, Kuwait and Oman will lower output by 220,000 bpd, 135,000 bpd and 42,000 bpd, respectively, according to Platts.

Following Thursday's ministerial meeting, which was delayed from Nov. 26 because of sharp pushback for additional cuts by OPEC countries from Africa, OPEC in its communique noted production adjustments from June 4 quotas for Nigeria, Angola and Congo. In June, the three countries agreed to have their output for 2024 adjusted based on the findings from three independent consultants -- IHS, Wood Mackenzie and Rystad Energy. Nigeria's production for 2024 is revised from 1.38 million bpd in June to 1.5 million bpd, and for Angola from 1.28 million bpd to 1.11 million bpd. Congo's output is assigned at 277,000 bpd from 276,000 bpd.

NYMEX January WTI futures settled down $1.90 at $75.96 per barrel (bbl), reversing lower from a $79.60 intrasession high. ICE January Brent futures expired down $0.27 at $82.83 bbl, reversing lower from a $84.75 bbl intrasession high, with the February contract ending the session $2.02 lower at $80.86 bbl.

NYMEX December ULSD futures expired down $0.0545 at $2.7542 gallon, reversing lower from a $2.8722 intrasession high with the January contract settling down $0.0522 at $2.7162 gallon in the backwardated market. NYMEX December RBOB futures reversed lower from a $2.2779 gallon four-week spot high to expire $0.0715 lower at $2.1758 gallon, with the January contract settling the session $0.0651 lower at $2.1778 gallon.

Brian L. Milne can be reached at brian.milne@dtn.com.

Brian Milne