Indian basket of crude gains $3 after OPEC, non-OPEC output deal

New Delhi, Dec 13 (IANS) The Indian basket of crude oils gained more than $3 a barrel over the weekend even as global prices surged to an 18-month high after a landmark deal to reduce output was agreed on by the worlds largest producers, including Saudi Arabia and Russia.

As per official data available here, the Indian basket, comprising 73 percent sour-grade Dubai and Oman crudes, and the balance in sweet-grade Brent, rose to $54.42 per barrel on Monday from its closing rate of $51.03 on the previous Thursday.

On Saturday, oil producers outside the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Russia, agreed to reduce output by 558,000 barrels per day. This came in the wake of the 13-nation OPEC cartel’s November 30 decision to cut output by 1.2 million bpd for six months effective January 1.

As per latest OPEC data, its reference basket of 13 crude oils closed at $53.24 a barrel on Monday.

The West Texas Intermediate for January delivery increased $1.33 to settle at $52.83 a barrel on Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for February delivery added $1.36 to close at $55.69 a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

It is the first time since 2001 that OPEC and some of its rivals reached a deal to jointly reduce output in order to tackle the global oil glut.

Analysts said the market might see an under-supply of crude starting next year. The oil price will most likely stay in the $53-to-57 range.

The West Texas Intermediate for January delivery moved down 35 cents to settle at $37.16 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for January delivery decreased 15 cents to close at $40.11 a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

Oil prices have fallen by more than 50 percent in less than two years, from levels of well over $100 a barrel.

In a meeting here with OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo earlier this month, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan conveyed to him India’s viewpoint that consuming countries’ interests should be kept in mind when they are deciding on issues of output cut and pricing.

Briefing reporters here on the sidelines of the Petrotech conference earlier this month, Pradhan said India would decide on its import strategy after seeing how the rest of the oil producing countries would move.

“Opec and non-Opec countries’ deciding to cut ouput will impact on 40 per cent of the world’s crude producing countries. We are waiting to see how the remaining 60 per cent of producing countries will move, before deciding on any strategy,” he said.

–IANS

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