Azerbaijan would support further OPEC balancing actions

Azerbaijan is one of a handful of non-OPEC members that agreed to curb production.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Oct. 20, 2017 at 8:05 AM
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Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Azerbaijan is ready to get in line behind any extraordinary effort needed to stabilize the market if a plan develops, its energy minister said Friday.

Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries implemented an agreement in January to sideline about 1.8 million barrels of oil per day from the market in an effort to drain the surplus on the five-year average for global crude oil supplies. The effort draws on the support from non-OPEC members, like Russia and Azerbaijan.

"The situation on the oil market has stabilized recently and a certain balance has been reached," Azeri Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov was quoted by Russian news agency Tass as saying. "If a new coordinated decision is made aimed at further stabilization of the oil market, Azerbaijan is ready to back it up."

OPEC economists in the monthly report for October revised their production forecast for non-member states for 2017 lower by 10,000 barrels per day for an average of 57.7 million barrels per day. In September, however, output from Azerbaijan was one of the contributors to non-OPEC growth.

Total average production from Azerbaijan for the year is forecast at 790,000 barrels per day, a downward revision of 6,000 barrels per day from OPEC's previous estimate.

British energy company BP led a consortium of international partners last month in extending a contract with the Statoil Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic for the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli field in the Azeri waters of the Caspian Sea. Since the initial production sharing contract was signed in 1994, the oil field has produced more than 3 billion barrels of oil

Laura Bennie, a Caspian sector researcher for consultant group Wood Mackenzie, said the extension for ACG was a testament of the field's value, adding there are still "billions of barrels to recover."

The Azeri energy minister's comments came one day after Igor Sechin, the head of Russian oil company Rosneft, said U.S. shale oil production was out of OPEC's control and could threaten the drain on the surplus in the five-year average for global crude oil inventories.

"The balance is fragile and unstable so far," he said.

Most of the non-OPEC growth is expected to come from the United States.

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