Saudi Arabia eyes OPEC+ production increase

Saudi Arabia and other OPEC oil producers are discussing an output increase, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing unidentified delegates within the group, Reuters reports.

An increase of up to 500,000 barrels per day is now under discussion for OPEC+’s 4 December meeting, the report said.

Oil prices, which were already down on the day, fell more than 5 percent to below $83 a barrel after the report. Reuters was not immediately able to verify the report.

Last month, OPEC+ unexpectedly decided to reduce output targets sharply, and it would be unusual for the group to increase production at a time of declining prices and concern about the economic outlook.

The WSJ said talk of a production increase has emerged after US President Joe Biden’s administration told a federal court judge that Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, should have sovereign immunity from a US federal lawsuit related to the killing of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

The immunity decision amounted to a concession to Prince Mohammed, bolstering his standing as the Kingdom’s de facto ruler after the Biden administration tried for months to isolate him, the newspaper said.

The Energy Minister for Saudi Arabia, the OPEC+ de-facto leader, was quoted as saying earlier this month the group will remain cautious.

Physical crude markets have weakened in recent days, reflecting softer demand from China and Europe.

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