A crucial meeting of minister from The OPEC+ countries is holding Saturday and it is most likely going to extend the production limits agreed in the heady days in March until July.
But the meeting Saturday only came together after Moscow and Riyadh pushed Angola, Nigeria, Kazakhstan and Iraq to stop shirking their share of cuts and to compensate for past failings.
By Friday, delegates said there was a deal in place to resolve these shortcomings, but details were lacking and observers were skeptical.
In a tweet just hours before the OPEC gathering, Nigeria said it approved of “the concept of compensation by countries who are unable to attain full conformity in May and June,” meaning they must make up their shortfall in July, August and September.
“Everyone saves face with this agreement,” said Jan Stuart, global energy economist at Cornerstone Macro LLC.
“But it begs the question: What is the enforcement mechanism? I’m very curious to see how the organization is going to elicit greater compliance from the cheaters.”
After a week of cajoling by Saudi Arabia and Russia, the cartel’s members are ready to prolong almost 10 million barrels a day of output curbs to the end of July, instead of easing them as previously planned.
The imminent extension, coupled with a surprisingly good U.S. jobs report, sent crude almost 6% higher to $42.30 a barrel on Friday in London, more than double the price in April.
That’s eased pressure on the budgets of oil-rich nations and revived the fortunes of energy companies from Exxon Mobil Corp. to shale drillers such as Parsley Energy Inc.
Trump himself hailed the recovery on Friday and thanked the cartel’s leaders for making it possible.
“Just a month ago. We had a disaster with respect to energy. It was down to zero, it was worthless,” Trump said at the White House. “We saved that industry in a short period of time. And you know who helped us? Saudi Arabia and Russia.”
The unlikely celebration in Washington came at the end of a long road that could still have some unwelcome twists and turns.
There’s no guarantee that Trump, who for most of his presidency has been openly hostile to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, won’t return to accusations of market manipulation and price gouging when it suits him.
The partnership at the heart of OPEC+ — between Saudi Arabia and Russia — was only recently patched up after a vicious price war. This week, the unity of the 23-nation coalition has been strained by some nations cheating on their production cuts.
There’s also a risk that future curbs could be undermined by a return of Libyan oil. The civil war there halted more than 1 million barrels a day of production, helping OPEC+ rebalance the market, but a cease fire now opens the door for a gradual recovery of supply.
As a first step, a key valve on a pipeline from the country’s biggest oil deposit reopened Friday, though the field remains shut.