Iraq oil minister sees balanced market, with crude prices topping out at $85/b
Oil prices should stabilize around current levels, reflecting a balanced market, Iraqi oil minister Ihsan Ismaael said Oct. 13
“The market should be balanced within the second half,” Ismaael said on the sidelines of the Russia Energy Week conference in Moscow. “For us, it’s balanced. For consumers, we think the price will not be higher, and it will be balanced around $85/b, we hope.”
S&P Global Platts has assessed Dated Brent at three-year highs in recent days, with the benchmark reaching as high as $84.43/b on Oct. 11.
The rally has prompted the US to call on the producer bloc to release more crude into the market to cool off prices — a request rebuffed by OPEC and its allies in their meeting Oct. 4, when they agreed to stick to their original plans to increase output by just 400,000 b/d.
Internal OPEC+ analysis seen by Platts indicates that while the market is currently undersupplied, a surplus could emerge as soon as December, and delegates have said the alliance prefers a more conservative approach, given the uncertainties around recovery rates from the pandemic in key regions.
OPEC+ ministers next plan to meet Nov. 4 to decide on December production levels.
Iraq is the second-largest crude producer in OPEC behind Saudi Arabia and the third-largest in the wider OPEC+ alliance behind Russia. Iraq pumped 4.18 million b/d of crude in September, according to the latest Platts survey of OPEC+ output.