ALGIERS: Algeria’s Energy Minister Nouredine Bouterfa said on Sunday he was confident OPEC members would stick to a deal made in Algiers in September to cut output, saying the group’s technical committee was working on applying the deal.
“There will be no return on the Algiers agreement. Now, we are in application of this agreement. The high-level technical committee is working on it. The Algiers agreement has not been called into question,” Bouterfa said, according to state news agency APS.
OPEC officials met in Vienna last month to work out the details of the Algiers plan to reduce oil production, but failed to reach agreement. The High Level Committee of experts will meet again in Vienna on Nov. 25 ahead of the next meeting of OPEC ministers on Nov. 30.
Oil futures on Friday fell by their biggest weekly percentage decline since January of around 9 percent.
Traders noted a surge in US crude inventories last week and muted demand continued to weigh on futures.
“Oil prices have been down all week because we’re seeing some of the OPEC countries’ negotiating stances, half of which are in the public. That is lowering people’s expectations of a future agreement to cut or cap production,” said James Williams, president of energy consultant WTRG Economics in Arkansas.
Both benchmarks settled at their lowest levels since September with Brent down 77 cents, or 1.7 percent, at $45.58 a barrel, and US crude down 59 cents, or 1.3 percent, at $44.07. That put both contracts down 15 percent since their early October highs.
Both futures fell for a sixth day in a row, the longest such streak for US crude since July and Brent since June.
For the week, US crude was down about 9 percent and Brent down about 8 percent, the biggest weekly losses for both since January.
Analysts said markets were also weighed down by traders pulling out money from futures ahead of the US presidential election on Tuesday, which is seen as a risk to markets.
Beyond election concerns, traders said fundamentals were weak, with US crude stocks surging, demand growth low, and doubts that OPEC and Russia can agree on a meaningful output cut this month.
US drillers added oil rigs this week for a 20th week in the last 23, energy services company Baker Hughes said.
Analysts said the rig increase occurred as energy firms followed through on plans to add rigs made months ago when crude was still trading over the key $50 a barrel level that was expected to prompt drillers to return to the well pad.