Opec oil output rose for the second month running in April as Saudi Arabia, the group’s largest producer by some distance, held production at above 10mn b/d whilst Libya and Nigeria also posted significant hikes, cancelling out a sharp fall in Algerian output. This, if anything, sends yet another signal that Riyadh – and by association Opec – is sticking firmly to what many saw as a controversial November 2014 decision not to cut production, even though global oil prices were on a sharp downward trajectory.

Just weeks after the decision, Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi told MEES that the decision to stick to its 30mn b/d production target was taken with a view to defending the producer group’s market share, in the face of rising output from high-cost – and in the minister’s view inefficient – producers like the US. “We want to tell the world that high efficiency producing countries are the ones that deserve market share,” he said in his 22 December interview with MEES (MEES, 2 January). (CONTINUED - 1087 WORDS)