By Pratap John/Chief Business Reporter
An agreement to “restore stability” to the global oil market was “imminent” as the growing number of oil producers who have officially confirmed participation in Sunday's oil producers meeting in Doha “has generated a positive feeling”, Qatar’s Ministry of Energy and Industry said.
“The State of Qatar had earlier invited Opec and non-Opec oil producers to a meeting that, for the first time, would bring together the world’s major oil producers, with the aim to agree on ways and means to restore stability to the oil market.
“Early delegates have already arrived in Doha. Most delegations however are expected on Friday and Saturday. The meeting is scheduled for Sunday morning and will be attended by participating countries,” the Ministry of Energy and Industry said.
Doha’s decision to host the high-level ministerial meeting on April 17 follows ongoing discussions among Saudi Arabia, Opec president Qatar, Venezuela and Russia on proposals to freeze production.
Earlier, Qatar said around 15 members, both from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-Opec producers, accounting for about 73% of global oil output, are supporting the initiative.
HE the Minister of Energy and Industry Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada is the current Alternate President of the Opec Conference.
Oil has dropped since mid-2014 to as low as $27 a barrel, from as high as $115, due to booming Opec and US supplies.
“Prices have recovered to above $40 a barrel in recent weeks as US production declines accelerate and as major Opec and non-Opec producers are due to meet in Doha, on April 17 to agree a deal to freeze global production,” a Reuters dispatch showed.
"If there is to be a production freeze, rather than a cut, the impact on physical oil supplies will be limited," the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly report.
"With Saudi Arabia and Russia already producing at or near record rates and very little upside seen apart from Iran any deal struck will not materially impact the global supply-demand balance during the first half of 2016," the IEA said.
The world has built record stocks over the past year, in excess of 3bn barrels, as production has exceeded demand. The IEA expects stocks to grow by 1.5mn bpd in the first half of 2016, slowing to 0.2mn bpd in the second half - unchanged from last month.
The IEA, which is due to publish its 2017 estimates in June, slightly trimmed its estimates for 2016 global demand growth from last month to 1.16mn barrels per day.
That represents a significant decline from the very strong growth of 1.8mn bpd in 2015 on the back of low oil prices. The IEA said demand growth was slowing in China, the United States and much of Europe.
"India could be replacing China as the main engine of global demand growth," the IEA said, estimating its demand growth at 300,000 bpd - the strongest ever volume increase.”
Saxo Bank economist Christopher Dembik said “although the price of the barrel has dropped significantly since mid-2014, broadly it still remains above its long-term average price. From 1861 to today, the current average price of a barrel is around $33.90.
“Historical analysis allows us to conclude that the anomaly is not the current period but the one of 2011-2014,” Dembik said in his exclusive note to Gulf Times.
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