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January 11, 2022 11:30 AM, EST

OPEC+ Supply Hikes Enough to Prevent Market Overheat, Oman Says

OPEC signAn OPEC sign hangs outside the OPEC Secretariat in Vienna. ( Akos Stiller/Bloomberg News)

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OPEC and its allies don’t want crude prices to climb to $100 a barrel, and are reviving production quickly enough to prevent global markets from “overheating,” Oman’s oil minister said.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a 23-nation group led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, continues to restore output halted during the pandemic at a gradual pace of 400,000 barrels a day, though in practice its increases have been restricted by internal unrest and depressed budgets. Crude prices have rallied this year, topping $80 a barrel in London.

“We’re very careful at OPEC+, we will look at each month as we go,” Omani Oil Minister Mohammed Al Rumhi said in an interview in Riyadh. “But so far, I think 400,000 is good because demand is increasing and we want to make sure that the market is not overheating. We don’t want to see $100 a barrel. The world is not ready for that.”

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Oil’s rally has alarmed many consuming nations as it stokes inflationary pressure that’s menacing the world’s economic recovery from the pandemic. Part of the problem has been a crunch in global production capacity following a run of reduced spending, Al Rumhi said.

Over the past five years “investments have been limited in the industry and we’re paying the price for it now,” Al Rumhi said.

It’s an issue afflicting OPEC+ themselves.

OPEC made only part of its planned output increase last month as Nigeria and Libya were beset by disruptions. Many members of the wider coalition, such as Angola and Malaysia, are also seeing production falter because of diminished investment. Even Russia struggled to boost volumes last month.

— With assistance from Verity Ratcliffe.

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