Several oil refiners in Asia were taken aback by Saudi Arabia’s pledge to curb 1 million barrels a day of supplies from next month even as they planned for maintenance that will trim demand.
Refinery officials with plants across the region expressed surprise over the move ahead of the release of Saudi official prices and cargo allocations for February in the coming days. The decision by the kingdom might have taken into account plant closures in March-April and more virus-led stay-at-home advisories worldwide, they said.
Oil futures in New York surged to a 10-month high and topped US$50 ($65.89) a barrel on Tuesday after the deal by OPEC+. Riyadh’s pledge was dubbed a “new year gift” to the market, with Russia and Kazakhstan set to lift output by a combined 75,000 barrels a day in both February and March. West Texas Intermediate traded at US$50.51 a barrel at 8:10 am in Singapore.