Russia Rejects Proposed Production Cuts at OPEC+ Emergency Meeting
Russia has rejected a proposal for production cuts by the OPEC+ group of oil producers, as delegates from the group met for three days in Vienna this week to discuss a suitable response to falling global demand and weak prices. Oil demand from China, the world’s largest importer, has dropped precipitously in the aftermath of the spread of the Coronavirus, which has claimed more than 600 lives against approximately 31,000 reported cases in the country. Leading producer Saudi Arabia had initially suggested output cuts of 800,000 to 1 million barrels per day to help balance markets, whist the broader consensus supported a cut of up to 600,000 barrels per day. In response, Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak was cited as saying that taking any action to cut output this week would be premature, and that Russia needed more time to assess the full impact of the outbreak. Crude oil prices have dropped nearly 17% since the beginning this year, as the spread of the virus has disrupted air passenger travel and international trade flows, curtailing demand for aviation and shipping fuel.