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Oil producers to decide in June on extending cuts

Oil producers to decide in June on extending cuts

Major oil producers led by Saudi Arabia agreed on Monday to keep working together to prop up crude prices, but said they would decide only in June on whether to extend production cuts.

Meeting in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, members of the OPEC+ alliance said they would continue coordinating efforts to “stabilise” the oil market through production cutbacks.

But they postponed a planned April meeting and said a decision would be made in June on whether to extend production cuts into the second half of 2019, once the impact of US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela is more clear.

In a joint statement after the talks, members of the alliance stressed the need to “restore market stability and prevent the recurrence of any market imbalance” — shorthand for keeping prices from dropping too low.

The 24-nation alliance came together in 2016, when the Saudi-dominated Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia agreed on the need to limit production in the face of tumbling prices.

The OPEC+ alliance has endured, with regular meetings and agreements to extend production limits, helping oil prices rise from around $40 per barrel in 2016 to an average of $70 per barrel last year.

The meeting in Baku brought together the group’s monitoring committee to review the latest extension, which saw OPEC+ nations agree to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day from January to June.

The committee was due to meet again next month, but on Monday that meeting was postponed until May.

The joint statement also said that the decision “on the production target for the second half of 2019” would be taken at an OPEC Conference meeting on June 25.