OPEC ready to adjust oil output increases -Barkindo

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LONDON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – OPEC and its allies, led by Russia, stand ready to adjust their plans for a gradual increase in oil output by 2 million barrels per day in the next months depending on market conditions, OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said on Sunday.

Barkindo was speaking at a meeting of experts of OPEC and allies, a group known as OPEC+, according to remarks published by OPEC. OPEC+ will meet on Monday to decide output policies for February.

In December, OPEC+ decided to increase production by 0.5 million bpd from January as part of the 2 million bpd rise but some members have questioned the need for a further increase from February due to spreading coronavirus infections.

OPEC+ was forced to cut production by a record amount in 2020 as global lockdown measures against the virus hammered demand for fuels.

OPEC+ first cut output by 9.7 million bpd, then eased cuts to 7.7 million and ultimately to 7.2 million from January.

Barkindo said OPEC now expected global oil demand to rise to 95.9 million bpd in 2021, or by 5.9 million bpd from 2020, as the global economy is forecast to grow by 4.4%.

Even though development of coronavirus vaccines have injected optimism into the global economy and oil markets, the rise in oil demand would still fail to bring consumption to pre-pandemic levels of around 100 million bpd.

OPEC’s latest December forecast was lower than the previous forecast of a 6.25 million bpd rise in 2021 because of the lingering impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

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