Black April for black gold, call to turn off the pumps

Kostis Geropoulos - Energy & Russian Affairs Editor, New Europe

On April 21, several ministers of OPEC+ held a teleconference to brainstorm the current dramatic oil market situation, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said. “They reiterated their commitment to the oil production adjustment reached during that videoconference,” OPEC wrote in a tweet. “They also called on HE (Algerian Energy Minister) Mohamed Arkab to continue holding such consultations on the market situation on regular basis,” they added.

A day earlier, WTI futures for May delivery dived more than 100% to -$37.63 a barrel. June US crude futures tumbled 18% to $20.43 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices fell 8.9% to settle at $25.57 per barrel. The drop on April 21 for WTI contracted for May basically shows the markets distrust in the historic OPEC+ deal last week to cut production.

International Energy Agency (IEA) head Fatih Birol has called for deeper oil productions cuts. “We continue to see extraordinary turmoil in oil markets in this ‘Black April’ for the industry. The OPEC+ supply cut is a solid start but insufficient to rebalance the market immediately due to the scale of the drop in demand,” he wrote in a tweet on April 21. He noted that the IEA suggests that those countries that made the recent decisions to reduce production act as soon as possible and also consider deeper cuts.

Birol also urged the financial authorities to adopt measures to discourage disorderly market outcomes.

Finally, the IEA suggests that countries with strategic reserves make capacities available to help take surplus barrels off the market.

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