Major oil producers to consider output cuts after price slide

The slide also comes during signs of a softer-than-expected impact from US sanctions on Iran oil exports

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, said on Sunday it would cut its shipments by half a million barrels per day in December due to seasonal lower demand.

The kingdom's energy minister, speaking after a meeting of Opec at the weekend, said the cartel believed that production would need to fall by almost 1m barrels per day (bpd) on October levels.

United States energy firms last week added 12 oil rigs in the week to November 9 looking for new reserves, bringing the total count to 886, the highest level since March 2015, Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday.

Separately, Khalid al-Falih, energy minister of the world's top supplier Saudi Arabia, said the kingdom would cut production by 500,000 barrels per day, AFP reported.

The country is targeting production capacity of 5m bpd in 2019, with average exports expected to reach around 3.8m bpd.

Major oil producers said Sunday, Nov. 12, 2018, that crude supply next year would outstrip demand, calling for new strategies that might include cutting production.

In his speech at the start of the meeting Falih said the recent sharp drop in prices has "surprised us". The cut represents a reduction in global oil supply of about 0.5 percent. But they can't force the United States to lower production so they are considering reversing their pledge to increase production.

Any formal decision on production cuts by Opec would likely come at its next meeting, in Vienna on 6 December. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 1.5 per cent to $61.08 per barrel.

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Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation, traditional arch-rivals have since 2016 worked in sync to counter U.S. shale, joining hands last year to remove a five-year inventory level by undertaking 1.8 million bpd of cuts.

There are signs that renewed USA sanctions on Iranian oil exports may have a softer-than-expected impact.

He said the market sentiment has shifted from one of fearing shortages to one anxious about oversupply. The market should be balanced by the middle of next year, though there are forecasts for a surplus of 1 million to 1.4 million barrels a day, he said.

"With the Iranian sanctions not being as severe as initially feared, officials from the OPEC and non-OPEC producers may discuss at the weekend the need to bring compliance back down towards the 100-percent level or risk another 2014-style slide in prices", he said.

But the producer nations eased the output cuts in June after signs of a tight market and higher prices, allowing hundreds of thousands of extra barrels into the market.

Commerzbank, Germany's second-largest lender, said on Friday that oil producers must act to prevent prices tumbling.

"If they fail to signal any intention to reverse the latest increase in production, oil prices threaten to slide further", the bank said in a note.

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