OPEC Members Fail to Reach Deal on Production Freeze, Oil Tumbles
On Monday, the price of oil plunged after a meeting by the world’s largest exporters taking place in Qatar collapsed without any agreement to an output freeze, leaving the creditability of the oil producing cartel in shambles and the world glutted with fuel that is not needed or wanted.
Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia were blamed for the meeting not reaching an agreement, which in turn rekindled the industry fears that major producers that are government controlled would increase their market share battle by offering discounts that were even steeper.
One industry strategist said that following the failed meeting, the credibility of OPEC was very low. He added that this was not only about oil for Saudi Arabia, it was equally about the regional politics.
Morgan Stanley announced that the failure to reach a deal only underscores the poor state of relations within OPEC, adding that the risk has grown for higher supply from OPEC, especially from Saudi Arabia as it is threatened by the rise in output in Iran.
Prices of oil have dropped by up to 70% since June of 2014 as producers pumped between 1 and 2 million barrels each day of crude in excess of what the demand is, leaving storage tanks across the globe filled to their limits with fuel that is unsold.
The meeting on Sunday in Doha, the capital of Qatar was expected to finalize a deal that would freeze the output at levels during January until October of 2016 as a way to slow down the ballooning oversupply.
However, the deal fell apart when Saudi Arabia the top exporter and Iran competed for influence in the Middle East where both are currently fighting a proxy war in Yemen and Syria.
Futures of Brent crude were down nearly 7% in early Monday trading, prior to recovering somewhat, but down 2.15% on the day.
Traders said that only a strike by oil workers in Kuwait prevented Brent from tumbling even more, while a cutback in drilling with the U.S. to levels of 2009 prevented steeper falls at that time.