The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) of the OPEC+ group recommended that no changes be made to the current oil production quotas during a meeting on Wednesday, as widely expected.
The members of the JMMC “reaffirmed their commitment to the DoC which extends to the end of 2023 as agreed in the 33rd OPEC and Non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting (ONOMM) on 5th of October 2022,” OPEC said in a brief statement after the meeting.
The panel is meeting next on April 3, 2023.
The no-change in policy was widely expected by the market, considering the uncertainties in both supply and demand in the coming months. Analysts expected OPEC+ to adopt a wait-and-see approach amid significant uncertainties going forward.
Earlier this week, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed OPEC+ cooperation on a phone call, according to various sources, with the focus on maintaining the stability of oil prices ahead of the virtual OPEC+ panel meeting today. Russian oil production has held up in spite of new Western sanctions and price caps, and three OPEC+ delegates have told Reuters that the Wednesday meeting was likely to conclude without any output policy changes.
In view of the uncertainties about Chinese demand and Russian supply in February and March, OPEC+ was widely expected to keep the current production levels, which reduced target output by 2 million barrels per day (bpd) from November onwards. Yet, the actual cut is estimated to have been around 1 million bpd.
In December, OPEC-13’s average December production rose by 91,000 bpd, according to the MOMR, to 28.971 million bpd, with nearly all of the gains coming from Nigeria. But December’s OPEC-10 production – the members bound by the OPEC+ pact – was still substantially below the production quota, with the group underproducing by more than 800,000 barrels per day.
Going forward, OPEC, OPEC+, and market participants will look to China and Russia for the most immediate clues on global demand and supply.