OPEC+ is considering going beyond its existing deal to boost production by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) when it meets next week, sources said, at a time when oil prices are near a three-year high and consumers are pressing for more supply.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, known as OPEC+, meets on Monday to review output policy. In July, the group agreed to boost output by 400,000 bpd a month to phase out 5.8 million bpd in cuts.
Four OPEC+ sources said producers were considering adding more than that deal envisaged, but none gave details on how much more, or when supply would increase. Another OPEC+ source suggested an increase of 800,000 bpd for one month was possible, with zero the next month.
The nearest month any increase could occur is November since OPEC+’s last meeting decided the October volumes.
“We cannot exclude any option,” one of the OPEC+ sources said. The idea that the oil market might need more oil than the existing deal planned for was “one of the possible scenarios,” said another of the sources.
On Wednesday, sources told Reuters the most likely outcome was sticking to the existing plan.
It was not immediately clear what prompted the change of tone, but it follows a meeting of the OPEC+ Joint Technical Committee (JTC) which reviewed the market outlook and reduced the size of an expected supply surplus in 2022.
Talks among members continue ahead of the virtual OPEC+ meeting on Oct. 4, with no guarantee an additional increase will be agreed.
On Tuesday, Brent oil rose to a three-year high above $80 a barrel, boosted by unplanned outages in the United States and a strong recovery in global economic activity and energy demand as many countries emerge from the pandemic. On Thursday, prices were trading just below $79.
Rising oil, gas, coal and power prices are feeding inflationary pressures worldwide and slowing the recovery.
“Obviously, the price of oil is of concern,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday. She said high oil prices were on national security adviser Jake Sullivan’s agenda when he met this week with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Previously, the U.S. government said it was in communication with OPEC and looking at how to address the cost of oil.
India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer, signalled on Tuesday that a spike in crude prices would speed up the transition to alternative energy sources.
Energy ministers from OPEC members Iraq, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates said in recent weeks the group saw no need to take extraordinary measures to change the existing agreement.