OPEC chief says rising infections may delay oil recovery

OPEC's secretary general said on Monday OPEC+ producers did not expect a renewed oil-price collaspe as seen in the second quarter

  
Secretary General of OPEC Mohammed Barkindo speaks during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin (not pictured) on sideline of the Energy Week International Forum in Moscow, Russia October 2, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS.

Secretary General of OPEC Mohammed Barkindo speaks during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin (not pictured) on sideline of the Energy Week International Forum in Moscow, Russia October 2, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS.

LONDON - OPEC's secretary general said on Monday an oil market recovery may take longer than hoped as coronavirus inflections rise around the world, and OPEC and its allies would "stay the course" in balancing the market.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia made a record oil output cut in April as the pandemic hit demand. They are scheduled to increase output in January as part of a gradual easing of supply curbs.

OPEC's Mohammad Barkindo, asked at the virtual India Energy Forum by CERAWeek if the second wave of the virus required any changes to OPEC+ strategy, said hopes earlier this year of a demand rebound had been disappointed.

"We were hopeful the second half of 2020 would begin to see a recovery," Barkindo said. "Unfortunately, both the economic growth and demand recovery remain anaemic at the moment due largely to the virus."

"We remain cautiously optimistic that the recovery will continue. It may take longer, maybe at lower levels, but we are determined to stay the course," Barkindo added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking last Thursday, did not rule out extending the oil cuts for longer if market conditions warranted.

Barkindo said producers did not expect a renewed oil-price collapse as seen in the second quarter, when oil hit historic lows with U.S. crude briefly trading in negative territory.

OPEC+ producers had met an average of 100% of their supply cut commitments and would continue to implement the curbs so that inventories fall further, Barkindo said.

"We are determined to assist the market to restore stability by ensuring that the stock drawdowns continue."

(Reporting by Alex Lawler Editing by Kirsten Donovan and David Holmes) ((alex.lawler@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 4087; Reuters Messaging: alex.lawler.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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