Oil market 'responding positively' to output cut: OPEC president

Although observers on Thursday praised the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for achieving a 91 percent oil cutback compliance rate (above earlier reports of 82 percent compliance, which in itself was far better than expected), further signs that many cartel members are bent exclusively on pumping full out came with the revelation that the compliance rate is not being spread evenly. However, it remains cautious about the outlook for 2017, forecasting a near-term deceleration to 1.4 mb/d.

Oil futures climbed Friday after the International Energy Agency reported a record compliance rate on the OPEC output deal, as 90% of the crude that the cartel agreed to cut was removed from the market.

The shift reflects a recent commitment by OPEC countries and 11 non-OPEC countries to reduce production in a bid to manage supply and demand levels better.

Oil has fluctuated above $50 a barrel since a deal to trim output between OPEC and 11 other nations took effect on January 1. Geopolitical risk and the oil nations' production cuts gave a floor to prices while fears of a too strong USA supply response and US oil inventories limited the upside evolution. "This proves that they are serious about supporting the price of oil".

"What it (OPEC and non-OPEC cut) does is basically avoid an even worse surplus than what has been the case in 2015 and the first half of 2016", said David Wech, managing director of consultancy JBC Energy. It's clear with the quick resurgence of the shale patch with oil prices back above $50, OPEC is back to competing with shale, posing the same dilemma it wrestled with in late 2014.

The production cuts - made from a very high baseline - were created to support prices and ease the budget pressure being felt by major producers.


It is also expected, that around 6 percent of Chinese refining capacity would shut down at some point during the first half of the year, equivalent to around 900,000 bpd of capacity.

Agrium Inc forecast on Thursday a less profitable year than expected and said its quarterly profit plunged.

The real test will come next year with a return to surplus.

OPEC seems to be moving in line with the six-month agreement since implementation began in January. If the January level of compliance is maintained, this would lead to draw of 0.6 million b/d, the IEA said.

Though Falih was confident in a swift rebalancing, he didn't rule out continuing the current strategy. In fact, 2016 was a horrific year for Nigeria.

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