The OPEC-led effort to balance the market left hundreds of millions of barrels of oil off the market, Russia's energy minister said. Photo courtesy of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
July 24 (UPI) -- Hundreds of millions of barrels of crude oil are lacking from the global energy market because of joint efforts with OPEC, Russia's oil minister said Monday.
Members of a committee monitoring a deal coordinated by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are meeting in St. Petersburg to consider the effectiveness of managed declines that began in January. The agreement includes major non-OPEC oil producers like Russia and Kazakhstan.
For the first time in three years, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said global oil and petroleum product volumes have declined.
"More than 350 million barrels of oil supply have been removed by the joint effort," he was quoted by Russian news agency Tass as saying.
Based on an average of 1.8 million barrels per day in total production cuts, the deal would've sidelined 369 million barrels by Monday. According to Novak, investments in the global energy sector are still robust, increasing for the first time since 2014, which he said would "help avoid a potential deficit [in oil and petroleum products] in the future."
Khalid al-Falih, the president of the OPEC conference and Saudi Arabia's energy minister, met during the weekend in St. Petersburg with OPEC delegates from Libya and Nigeria, two members states exempt from the agreement so they can steer oil revenue toward national security efforts.
"In the meeting, the president of the conference and the delegations reviewed the two countries' current oil market outlooks and discussed the future prospects and challenges that may lie ahead," a statement from OPEC read.
Combined, Libya and Nigeria are adding about a quarter million barrels of oil per day to the market, while some of their fellow OPEC members cut production. Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in OPEC, is leading the pack in terms of production declines.
Russia's contribution is vital to the arrangement as it's the largest producer among non-OPEC members. The Kremlin offered mixed support for the agreement during negotiations last year after publicly stating in 2015 that coordinating with OPEC was an unsavory proposal.
Novak in May backed the proposal to extend the terms of the original agreement by three months into March 2018. With oil prices still well below levels from three years ago, traders were looking for deeper cuts.