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  1. ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Oil producer group OPEC is not the enemy of the United States, United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Saturday in Abu Dhabi. UAE's Oil Minister OPEC President Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei “We are complementing each other, we are not enemies here,” Mazrouei told an industry conference in Abu Dhabi, addressing the relationship between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the U.S., a major oil consuming country. OPEC and other leading global oil producers led by Russia agreed in December to cut their combined oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day from January to prevent a supply glut and boost sagging prices. The decision came despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for the oil exporters’ club to refrain from cutting production, saying it would trigger higher oil prices worldwide. Mazrouei said the average oil price in 2018 was $70 a barrel. His Omani counterpart Mohammed al-Rumhi, addressing the same event, said he expected a price of between $60 and $80 a barrel in 2019. The 1.2 million bpd cut should be enough to balance the market, Mazrouei said, expecting the correction to start this month and to be achieved in the first half of the year. “We are assuming no changes in the cut that we have,” he said. Mazrouei also said he did not expect OPEC members Venezuela, Libya or Iran, who effectively have exemptions from the cuts, to increase their oil output in 2019, rather it was more likely their production would decline. Both Mazrouei and Rumhi said there was no need for OPEC and its allies to meet before April when they are set to decide their output policy for the rest of 2019. “Things are working well,” said Rumhi, whose country is taking part in the supply reduction agreement but is not an OPEC member. Source
  2. Oil in New York jumped after OPEC and allied crude exporters surprised traders with a larger-than-expected output reduction. Futures advanced more than 2 percent in New York and London on Friday. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and aligned nations will collectively curb production by 1.2 million barrels a day, 20 percent more than previously discussed. "It's been a volatile October and November, but this is a nice Christmas present into December," said Chris Kettenmann, chief energy strategist at Macro Risk Advisors LLC. OPEC "stepped up and delivered this year and we should see volatility come in." Crude oil has steadily dropped since early October amid concern over growing supplies and the American government's go-slowly approach by sanctions against Iran. OPEC and allies ended meetings in Vienna on Friday with an agreement for the cartel to reduce output by 800,000 barrels a day and other producers to cut by 400,000 barrels a day. Iran secured an exemption from the deal. The accord represents "a meaningful cut to to supply," said Ryan Fitzmaurice, an energy strategist at Rabobank. Still, if sanctions against Iran "get more punitive over time, which I do expect, six months from now we could be in a situation where we actually need more production from OPEC." West Texas Intermediate for January delivery climbed $1.12 to settle at $52.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Total volume traded was about 54 percent above the 100-day average. A measure of oil market volatility dropped to the lowest since Nov. 19. Brent for February settlement rallied $1.61 to $61.67 on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange. Brent traded at a $8.86 premium to WTI for the same month. Producers will use October production levels as a baseline for cuts and the agreement will be reviewed in April. Kuwait is an exception and will use September output as baseline, according to Iraqi Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban. Russia has proposed its share of the 1.2 million barrels a day cut agreement to be equivalent to a 2 percent supply reduction from October levels, according to a delegate. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said cooperation with OPEC is "as strong as ever." Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said U.S. oil producers are "breathing a sigh of relief" in response to the deal and that low oil prices are "not good for the U.S. economy." Source
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