OPEC’s secretary general told CNBC that oil price volatility is due to anxiety ahead of the 14-member oil producer group’s next meeting in Vienna in December.
“What is happening at the moment, in our opinion, is the normal volatility that comes in the run up to our conferences. As you know, we reconvene in Vienna on the 6th and 7th of December … And this period between now and December is a period of anxiety for all stakeholders,” Mohammed Barkindo told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” at the ADIPEC conference in Abu Dhabi Wednesday.
He said the organization of oil producers, whose defacto leader is Saudi Arabia, remained focused on stabilizing oil markets, which have seen supply and demand out of kilter for several years.
“We remain very focused on our principle objectives which we have made clear in the most transparent manner you can think of,” he said.
“We remain focused jointly with our markets to restore stability to this market and we have registered some modest, I may say, achievements in that regard.”
Oil prices slumped to their lowest level in more than eight months early on Wednesday, extending losses from a 7 percent plunge in the previous session. However, following the comments from oil market leaders, prices rallied. International benchmark Brent crude traded at around $66.45 at 9:30 a.m. London time, up almost 1.5 percent, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) stood at $56.21, up almost 1 percent.
The recent falls had come amid heightened fears of a slowdown in global demand, with OPEC downwardly revising its projections for 2019. The influential oil cartel now expects demand to grow by around 1.29 million barrels per day (bpd) next year, approximately 70,000 bpd lower than last month’s forecast.