OPEC Rebuffs Western Demands for Much Higher Oil Production, Deciding on Just a Small Increase

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    OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) decided to stay with a modest oil-production increase, rebuking US President Joe Biden's request for more production. OPEC was also adamant about the threat to market demand posed by China due to its latest brutal coronavirus lockdowns. Reuters covered the OPEC meeting, when yet again the organization refused requests from Joe Biden and other Western leaders to increase oil production. The report mentioned that Russia was a participant in the OPEC+ gathering.

    In defiance of requests from Western nations for faster production and their apprehensions about supply shortages, the group decided to boost its production targets for June by 432,000 barrels a day, as per an existing plan to ease the curbs of 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic hit demand. 

    On March 1, crude-oil prices reached their highest level since 2008, at more than $139 per barrel, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which increased fears about supply and drove the rise in prices. Benchmark Brent crude traded above $111 on Thursday.

    Two of those who attended the meeting reported that participants completely avoided the topic of sanctions against Russia in the final session, which concluded in a record-breaking time of under 15 minutes.

    “OPEC+ continues to view this as a problem of the West's own making and not a fundamental supply issue that it should respond to,” Callum Macpherson from Investec told Reuters, adding that only Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are able to significantly increase their production. “If they were to do so, the ensuing falling out with Russia could bring an end to OPEC+,” Macpherson added.

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