Russia doesn’t rule out delaying scheduled production hikes by the OPEC+ alliance, President Vladimir Putin said, the latest sign the cartel could restrain crude output for longer as the pandemic crimps demand again.Production cuts are due to be eased as part of a gradual tapering from January but the cartel has hinted it may change tack as demand falters. While Putin said his preference was to adhere to the current plan, his comments are a show of unity between Russia and Saudi Arabia, whose leaders have been engaged in intense telephone diplomacy this month.
“We think there is no need to change anything now,” Putin said Thursday in his address to the Kremlin-backed Valdai Club. Yet “we don’t rule out that we may keep the current restrictions on output, that we don’t lift them as soon as we had planned earlier.”
Oil rose after Putin’s remarks. On Friday, prices again retreated on concern that a second wave of the coronavirus may throw the energy demand recovery in Europe and the U.S. into reverse.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, due to add almost 2 million barrels a day starting January, have warned of a precarious outlook, and increasingly traders have signaled the market can’t absorb the extra barrels.