OPEC's Barkindo: oil market may have upside potential next year

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[November 05, 2019]  VIENNA (Reuters) - OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said on Tuesday that the oil market outlook for 2020 may have upside potential, appearing to downplay any need for deeper cuts to production.


The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies led by Russia meet in December to review output policy. The so-called OPEC+ alliance has since January implemented a deal to cut oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day to support the market. The pact runs to March 2020.

"Based on the preliminary numbers, 2020 looks like it will have upside potential," Barkindo told a briefing.

Asked whether he was more optimistic about the market than he had been in October, when he had said all options were open including a deeper cut, Barkindo replied that the picture had improved.

"There are definitely brighter spots. The outlook as we get closer to 2020 ... The numbers are looking more refined and the picture is looking brighter," he said.

On whether the market looked oversupplied for next year, Barkindo said: "We are not there yet. It is not possible for us at the moment to pre-empt all processes" of reviewing the market before the December meeting.

Barkindo also said Brazil would be welcome to join the oil producer group but the country had not yet made an official request to do so.

"They would be most welcome to join," Barkindo told reporters, adding that consultations had taken place in Riyadh.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said last month that he wants his country to join OPEC, a move that would add the most significant new producer to the oil cartel for years but met with scepticism in Brazil's energy industry.

Earlier on Tuesday OPEC released its 2019 World Oil Outlook, in which the producer group said it would supply a diminishing amount of oil in the next five years as output of U.S. shale and other rival sources expanded.

(Reporting by Alex Lawler; Writing by Dale Hudson)

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