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G20 ministers struggle to set oil output cuts

Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by G20 energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico.

The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions over energy policy, making no mention of output cuts and pledging simply to ensure oil “market stability” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Mexico was the lone holdout in a record OPEC-led agreement reached a day earlier that would see output slashed by 10 million barrels per day in May and June followed by a gradual reduction in cuts until April 2022.

The standoff had cast doubt on efforts to bolster oil prices, pushed to near two-decade lows by the demand-sapping pandemic and a Saudi-Russia price war that rattled global markets.

The subsequent G20 meeting — hosted by Riyadh — was expected to seal the deal more widely with non-OPEC countries in the group including Mexico, the United States and Canada. 

But there was no sign of an agreement in the group’s final statement.

“We commit to ensure that the energy sector continues to make a full, effective contribution to overcoming Covid-19 and powering the subsequent global recovery,” said the statement released early Saturday. 

“We commit to take all the necessary and immediate measures to ensure energy market stability.”

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