Global oil prices surged Friday, taking Brent crude more than 5% higher on the session, after OPEC member states and their allies agreed to cut production for at least six months following a contentious three-day meeting in Vienna.
"The Conference observed that current oil supply and demand fundamentals confirm a well accommodated market following the concerted efforts of participating countries in the 'Declaration of Cooperation' toward restoring balance," OPEC said in a statement. "In view of the current fundamentals and the consensus view of a growing imbalance in 2019, the Conference decided to adjust OPEC overall production by 0.8 mb/d from October 2018 levels, effective as of January 2019, for an initial period of six months, with a review in April 2019."
Russia, a non-OPEC member, joined the talks today and was reported to have agreed to trim output by 230,000 barrels per day, a figure that left the so-called OPEC+ alliance with a broad agreement to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day heading into 2019, based on October levels of output.
Brent crude contracts for February delivery, the global benchmark, were marked $2.68 higher from their Thursday close in New York and changing hands at $62.74 per barrel while WTI contracts for January delivery, which are more tightly liked to U.S gas prices, were marked $2.02 higher at $53.58 per barrel. By day's end, Brent rose 2.74% at $61.67 a barrel.
The statement followed reports that Iran has agreed to co-operate with rival Saudi Arabia on OPEC production cuts, paving the way for a broader agreement with Russia to reduce overall supplies next year.
Iran, which will be exempted from the output changes, had previously resisted further cuts given that its crude sales are subject to U.S. sanctions.
"The bigger takeaway is what the Saudi Energy Minister would possibly have on his mind as he leaves Vienna today; a Russia that has become as powerful to OPEC as Riyadh and a U.S. that is now a net exporter of oil," said Barani Krishnan, a senior analyst at investing.com
"Furthermore, we've not even gotten to the Khashoggi fallout and likely Trump dismay over these cuts. One can only speculate at this point to how this will play out for the Saudis and their oil business going forward," he added.