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‘Black swans’ all around us can seriously weigh on oil market – Russian energy minister

‘Black swans’ all around us can seriously weigh on oil market – Russian energy minister
The situation with the oil market is unpredictable, with geopolitical factors applying a lot of pressure, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Russian Energy Week event in Moscow, he said: “Despite the fact that we see more or less stable fluctuations around the price of oil, around $50-$60 per barrel, and we’ve seen some more fluctuations due to the attack on the Aramco facilities that was a short period of fluctuations – so we see some kind of stability. But, nonetheless, we do not see the stability per se on the market.”

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The minister added that the markets are currently surrounded by “black swans” – unforeseen events that may have damaging consequences. According to the black swan theory, a completely unexpected and difficult to predict event can cause turmoil in the markets.

“We actually feel that all around us we’re seeing those black swans flying around, we cannot always predict them and they can seriously impact the market situation.”

According to Novak, in the past two years, the impact of trade wars on oil consumption has been noticeable. “This [reduction in consumption – Ed.], of course, does not add optimism about the current and future situation.” He also noted the impact of sanctions announced every week by “one big country” against different countries.

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OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers should work together to reduce the impact of these factors on the global oil market, Novak said.

OPEC, Russia, and other oil producing allies (known as OPEC+) agreed in December to reduce supply by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from the start of this year. OPEC’s share of the cut is 800,000 bpd, to be delivered by 11 members, with exemptions for Iran, Libya, and Venezuela.

The 11 OPEC members bound by the agreement, which now runs until March 2020, have easily exceeded the pledged cuts. Compliance has been at 218 percent in September, up from 131 percent in August.

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