OPEC will hold its 169th Meeting in Vienna on June 2nd. Its tentative program calls for a press conference to be held at 1600 hours. Don’t expect the fireworks that followed its conference 18 months ago when Saudi oil minister al-Naimi declared a market share battle against North American shale producers. In fact, don’t expect much of anything.
A lot has happened since the last OPEC meeting in December. A strong El Niño resulted in record high temperatures in North America during the first half of the winter, undercutting prices. Poorer members, such as Venezuela and Nigeria, implored the group’s richer Gulf state producers to cut back to stop the hemorrhaging. Saudi Arabia refused to budge.
The sanctions against Iran were lifted in early January. Iran proclaimed it would restore lost production of 500,000 to one million barrels per day. Crude prices tumbled further and by mid-January had dropped to the mid-$20s. The market panic was in full-force. [Read more...]