Western hopes for another boost in supplies from the world’s most influential oil cartel are dwindling, with OPEC+ expected to avoid discussions of raising output later this year as it enters a second and final day of meetings this week.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, alongside allies such as Russia (OPEC+) has committed to raising supplies in July and August, but has held back from plans for September.
At least five OPEC+ delegates told news agency Reuters the organisation will instead focus on confirming August output policies.
Two other delegates said the issue of production after August could emerge but it was unclear what steps could be taken.
During its last gathering in early June, OPEC+ decided to raise output each month by 648,000 barrels per day in July and August, compared with a previous plan to add 432,000 barrels per day over three months.
The White House welcomed the producers’ decision in June that followed months of pressure from the West on OPEC+ to raise production to help lower oil prices.
This included public calls for boosts in supply from US President Joe Biden, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson embarking on a trip to Saudi Arabia to make the case for more oil production.
Biden is desperate to reduce the cost of living for Americans ahead of the crucial mid-terms in November.
However, with OPEC benefitting from higher prices and wary of aggravating key partner Russia, it has largely ignored Western calls to heavily ramp up production.
Oil prices climbed to 14-year peaks of $139 per barrel after the West imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
They have eased since this year’s March peaks, but rose above $115 a barrel this week amid tight supply and concern OPEC has little ability to raise output.
Despite modest pledges to boost output this year, OPEC+ has persistently missed its targets this year amid capacity issues and concerns of a potential supply glut if there are further shocks to the market, with the group still treading cautiously after the pandemic.
French President Emmanuel Macron revealed to Joe Biden this week he had been told that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, considered the only OPEC members with significant spare capacity, can barely increase oil production.
Biden is expected to travel to the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia next month, and is widely expected to reignite demands for the country to raise production.