Russia could take steps to help OPEC avoid ‘incredibly high oil prices,’ sovereign wealth fund chief says
Russia has “benefited tremendously” from its co-operation with OPEC over recent months, the head of Russia’s investment fund said, but rising oil prices are quickly becoming a concern.
International benchmark Brent crude and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) both jumped earlier this week to levels last seen in November 2014, as oil traders await U.S. sanctions against Iran’s oil imports.
“Russia is not really interested in incredibly high oil prices, we actually feel that the current level is even (too) high and maybe should be a little bit lower,” Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) told CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore in Moscow on Wednesday.
“Cooperation with OPEC is not only an agreement to increase prices, it is an agreement to stabilize prices. So, if prices become too high then both Saudi Arabia and us have the capability and capacity to increase production,” Dmitriev said.
Brent crude traded at around $85.30 on Wednesday, up around 0.6 percent, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) stood at around $75.55, more than 0.4 percent higher.
Both Brent and WTI contracts have soared by around 20 percent and 17 percent respectively since mid-August.
Late last month, President Donald Trump urged OPEC producers to ratchet up production levels to prevent further price rises ahead of the mid-term elections in early November.
The Trump administration’s push for the Middle East-dominated cartel to start pumping more oil comes as the White House prepares to impose sanctions against Iran in just under five weeks’ time.
U.S. sanctions against Tehran are widely expected to have an immediate impact on Iran’s oil exports, although the estimates of exactly how much of the country’s oil could disappear from November 4 vary widely.
Some energy market analysts expect around 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) to disappear once U.S. sanctions against Iran come into force, while others have warned as much as 2 million bpd could come offline over the coming months.
“The Iran factor is the primary near-term price driver and as such spikes will be the norm in the coming weeks,” Stephen Brennock, oil analyst at PVM Oil Associates, said in a research note published Wednesday.
“The bullish roller-coaster will remain in full-swing for now, but don’t be surprised if it grinds to a halt as we approach the turn of the year,” Brennock added.