OPECs Oil Production Cuts Ease in With the New Year

By Motley Fool Staff Markets Fool.com

Last week brought the energy market the first few days of OPEC's oil production cut, and for the first time in years, some cartel members are actually following through on their pledges to reduce output. In this clip from Industry Focus: Energy, Motley Fool analysts Sean O'Reilly and Taylor Muckerman explain which countries have cut production so far (and which haven't), and how that might change in the near future.

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A full transcript follows the video.

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This podcast was recorded on Jan. 5, 2017.

Sean O'Reilly: Really quickly, I just want to mention OPEC, because it's what we do.

Taylor Muckerman: Yeah. We're going to try and trim that down unless there's something major. But, new year, I feel like we have to at least briefly hit on it.

O'Reilly: Well, this is the first month they're supposedly going to do the production cuts they agreed to.

Muckerman: Yeah, they start the cuts. Up to 1.8 million barrels a day, including the 11 other countries that committed to --

O'Reilly: Right. The big story a couple weeks ago was that Mexico was in on it, and blah blah blah.

Muckerman: And Russia, yeah.

O'Reilly: I actually just saw on the wires this morning that Iraq has already cut production. They're actually doing it.

Muckerman: Yeah, they're cutting medium and heavy crude, which is basically what everybody produces over there.

O'Reilly: I'm mildly impressed with how everybody is actually doing what they said they would do.

Muckerman: Well, we don't know the degree to the extent that they have cut. But yeah, they have started to cut, along with Oman and Kuwait as well. There's at least three out of the OPEC members.

O'Reilly: We're 10% there, yay.

Muckerman: Yeah. We don't know much about the other countries. Mexico wasn't necessarily cutting; they were just expecting a natural decline of oil wells, without having the replacement there. But of those 11, all eyes are on Russia, who hasn't begun to cut or provided any guidance of when they might decide to.

O'Reilly: I get the distinct impression that Russia views the world as being on a need-to-know basis.

Muckerman: Yeah. I think maybe they're waiting to see what happens when everyone else cuts, and if prices rise, they're probably going to be like, "Well, you know what? Thanks, guys!"

O'Reilly: You know that Saudi Arabia already increased their prices -- you know how they set monthly prices to Asia and the U.S. and stuff. They already upped it a little bit because of the cut. They're like, "We cut production, so we're upping the price."

Muckerman: Yeah, upping prices. But we mentioned this a couple weeks ago, straight from the mouth of the former Saudi Arabian oil minister talking about OPEC and their previous cuts, saying, "We tend to cheat." So, we'll be surprised to see 100% of that 1.8 million barrels per day cut. Analysts I've seen, a Goldman Sachsanalyst says he believes around 84% of that total will be achieved. I've seen as low as 70%.

O'Reilly: Before the holiday, you said "historically." You said, you usually get about two-thirds? Over the last 40 years or whatever.

Muckerman: Yeah, I think it falls right in that 60% to 75% range.

O'Reilly: If we got 83%, that'd be a win.

Muckerman: Yeah, historically, it would be a win.

Sean O'Reilly has no position in any stocks mentioned. Taylor Muckerman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.