Brent crude futures were at $69.52 per barrel. For the week, Brent was set for a gain of about 5 percent, its strongest showing since July last year.
The rise of oil prices represents a challenge for the global shares market, which dropped due to concerns regarding a commercial confrontation between the US and China.
Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid al-Falih revealed on Thursday that OPEC members will need to continue coordinating with Russia and other non-OPEC oil-producing countries on supply curbs in 2019 to reduce global oil inventories to desired levels.
OPEC and non-OPEC countries struck a production supply agreement in January 2017 to remove 1.8 million barrels per day from global markets and end a supply glut. The cuts helped lift oil prices to current levels of around $65 per barrel. The oil producers will convene in June in Vienna to discuss further cooperation.
“We know for sure that we still have some time to go before we bring inventories down to the level we consider normal and we will identify that by mid-year when we meet in Vienna,” Falih said.
“And then we will hopefully by year-end identify the mechanism by which we will work in 2019,” he added during an interview with Reuters.
Earlier, Falih said there is a general acceptance among producers that further coordination does not necessarily mean maintaining the same level of cuts. “It just means that the mechanism has worked and they have committed to work within that mechanism for a much longer period,” he said.
“A new framework requires agility and a willingness to do things differently in terms of what levels of production as the market dictates,” Falih continued.
Despite continued rapid growth in output from the United States, Falih said he did not consider the shale industry to be a threat.
Falih revealed that the Kingdom may still move forward with the planned initial public offering (IPO) of Aramco in the second half of 2018. “We have prepared all documentation to be ready to do both domestic and international listings,” Falih stated. “We have not closed the door on 2018.”
The Kingdom needed to be sure “that the market is ready and this is an optimum time to execute.”
The minister said the company could be floated either domestically or internationally later this year. New York is still in the running for the IPO, but Saudi officials still need to weigh the potential legal risks of a listing in the United States, he continued.