Saudi Arabia makes hard-hitting call for full OPEC+ compliance on cuts

Prince Abdul Aziz warned nations to comply with oil cuts during a meeting of an OPEC+ ministerial committee. (Twitter)
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Updated 18 September 2020

Saudi Arabia makes hard-hitting call for full OPEC+ compliance on cuts

  • Energy minister Prince Abdul Aziz warns: ‘compliance is not an act of charity’
  • Only six of the OPEC+ members had stuck to agreed production levels to stabilize market

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has called on its partners in the OPEC+ alliance to be vigilant, disciplined and transparent in their commitment to the oil cuts agreement that have brought global crude back from the chaos of earlier this year.

In hard-hitting opening remarks, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, the Kingdom’s energy minister, said it was essential for all members of the 23-strong organization to comply fully with the terms of their agreements.

“Full compliance is not an act of charity. It is an integral part of our collective effort to maximize the interest and gains of every individual member of this group. And compliance is a sovereign decision that we have all taken willingly and responsibly,” he told delegates at the monthly virtual meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) that oversees OPEC+ affairs.

The meeting had heard a technical report showing that only six of the OPEC+ members had stuck by agreed production levels in the period from May to August.

Saudi Arabia cut by far the biggest amount in that period, while the UAE - traditionally a diligent conformer to OPEC+ agreements - missed its production targets by a significant amount, which has widened over the past two months.

But the overall level of compliance to the cuts was at a historical high level in August, with 101 per cent conformity among all OPEC+ members.

The Prince said a “key lesson of the past few weeks is that being transparent with the market, and with this group, about production and compliance always pays off.

“Attempts to outsmart the market will not succeed, and are counter-productive, when we have the eyes, and the technology, of the world upon us,” he added.

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In a meeting with journalists, Suhail Al-Mazrouei, the UAE energy minister who was seated alongside the Saudi Prince in Riyadh, reaffirmed his full support for the OPEC+ commitments. “We have always been a transparent and full partner to all out colleagues in these agreements,” he said.

Prince Abdul Aziz said he wanted to “dispel any concerns that may have been assumed by analysts, the media or the market” about the UAE’s commitment to the OPEC+ cuts.  

Under-complying countries, including the UAE, have agreed to cut more crude in the future to compensate for past shortfalls, but Prince Abdul Aziz warned: “The compensation mechanism was not established as a substitute for full compliance, nor to encourage non-compliance. Not fully complying, and then compensating, should not become the norm.”

He added he would like to see the compensation scheme ended this year, and the JMMC was considering that possibility.

Some analysts had expected the OPEC+ meeting to agree to reverse some of the increases brought in under phase two of the historic April cuts deal, but this was never under serious consideration.

“In the face of uncertainty, the market will be increasingly looking to us for direction. We must demonstrate that we are disciplined and fully committed to our agreement, and as a group we are pro-active and pre-emptive, and ready to act when it is needed,” Prince Abdul Aziz said.

“There is no other choice or panacea. This is the only effective medicament to see us through these challenging times,” he added.

Prince Adbul Aziz had a blunt message for speculators looking to make profits in volatile trading. “To those who want to short the market, I say - make my day.”

The strong Saudi message to OPEC+ was echoed by the Russian energy minister, Alexander Novak, who said: “I urge everyone to continue sticking to this and to maintain the high level we have achieved.”

Global oil prices, which have been under pressure in recent weeks on fears of a COVID-19 resurgence and falling oil demand, recovered some lost ground to trade over $43 a barrel.

 


Egypt banks step up anti-virus efforts

Updated 26 November 2020

Egypt banks step up anti-virus efforts

  • asures recommended by the Federation of Egyptian Banks also include a ban on face-to-face meetings.

CAIRO: Up to half of bank employees in Egypt will be encouraged to work from home under guidelines to counter a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Measures recommended by the Federation of Egyptian Banks (FEB) also include a ban on face-to-face meetings.

In a letter to banks, the FEB said its guidelines were aimed at ensuring sustainable operations “in the current circumstances.”

Banks will continue to operate from 8.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the public and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for employees.

Previous guidelines were issued by the FEB on March 30 and April 5.

The federation's latest plan includes a follow-up on alternative workplaces to allow departments to continue working in cases of forced interruption.

The plan also issues strict instructions on wearing face masks in the workplace and while using the bank’s buses.

Employees also have been urged to follow precautionary measures while using public or private transport, and to avoid crowded places.

The FEB banned face-to-face meetings, replacing these with video conference meetings, and also underlined instructions to sanitize all surfaces using alcohol-based sanitizers, to regularly sanitize all workplaces at weekends, to provide sanitizers in areas that host employees and clients, and to regularly sanitize all main elevators.

Office boys and janitors have been instructed to wear face masks and to use paper cups instead of glass or metal ones.

The FEB said it will continue to post awareness videos and statements on combating the coronavirus.

It has urged banks to use e-payments, to continue banning delivery persons from entering the workplace, to continue halting the delivery of daily newspapers and magazines, and to continue temperature testing by security officials at workplace entrances.