The 4 March meeting of Opec+ ministers ended with yet another compromise to accommodate Russia and its sidekick Kazakhstan. The group of 23 oil producers agreed to keep production steady into April except for Russia, which sought and was granted a 130,000 b/d hike, whilst Kazakhstan got 20,000 b/d (see table). The decision not to increase production collectively came despite Brent crude having risen above $60/B since early February: prices leapt further to a 15-month high $67/B in the wake of the Opec+ decision to (more or less) keep output steady.

The meeting outcome marks the second time this year that Saudi oil minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman had given way to his Russian co-host Alexander Novak. In January, Saudi Arabia pledged an additional 1mn b/d output cut for February and March as a quid-pro-quo for other Opec+ members foregoing planned increases. All except Russia and Kazakhstan, that is. Russia was permitted to raise output by 65,000 b/d and Kazakhstan by 10,000 b/d for February, with a further identical hike for March (MEES, 8 January). (CONTINUED - 1215 WORDS)