No need for hasty decisions in oil market over Omicron variant, says Russia’s Novak

Russia sees no need for urgent action on the oil market over the new Omicron coronavirus variant, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak was quoted as saying on Monday, downplaying possibility of changes to a global oil deal.

he Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and others led by Russia, a group known as OPEC+, will hold online meetings this week to decide on oil production policy.

Sources on Friday said that OPEC+ was monitoring developments related to Omicron, with some expressing concern that it may worsen the oil market outlook.

“We have to meticulously monitor and watch. There is no need for hasty decisions,” Novak is quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

OPEC+ has resisted US calls to do more to lower oil prices, continuing to unwind last year’s record high output curbs by adding 400,000 barrels of supply per day each month since August. This week’s meeting will discuss January’s output.

Novak said OPEC+ partners had not asked to renegotiate their current deal in response to Omicron, news agencies reported.

Oil prices rose on Monday as investors looked for bargains after Friday’s slump and on speculation that OPEC+ may pause an output increase in response to the spread of the new virus variant.

Prices jumped by more than 4 percent, recovering some ground after plunging more than 10 percent in the previous trading session.

Prior to Friday, OPEC+ sources said the group had not discussed pausing their planned output hike in January. Iraq said on Thursday that OPEC+ should stick to its plan.

A source familiar with Russian thinking on Friday also downplayed the variant.

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