OREANDA-NEWS. June 21, 2018. Saudi Arabian oil minister Khalid al-Falih said ministers agree it is time "to change course and respond to the market", as fundamentals have shifted.

"It is a reality that the market demands more in the second half than what has been provided in the first half. I am encouraged that we are converging towards a good positive decision that should please not only the stakeholders within the oil industry countries and companies — but also the consumers," he said.

Asked if the decision will be political, al-Falih said it will be based on fundamentals. "We will be looking at supply and demand, and inventory," he said. But he added: "I think I would be lying to you if I did not say and acknowledge that there are political forces. Oil has always been influenced by politics. It is a critical commodity to global economic growth, and there are internal forces within many countries — both producers and consumers — that push for the policies of those countries to go one way or another."

This follows comments from Iran's oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh yesterday, who said — in a reference to Iran's geopolitical rivalry with Saudi Arabia and to the re-imposition of US sanctions on the country — that oil is "not a political tool to be used against some countries — producers or consumers."

Opec kingpin Saudi Arabia and non-Opec producer Russia are in favour of easing production restraints under the Opec, non-Opec deal. But Iran, along with Venezuela, expressed opposition to a potential increase. Zanganeh said that signatories to the agreement should produce to their quota levels.

Iran has been invited to attend the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) of Opec and non-Opec signatories to the 2016 agreement tomorrow. The invitation is probably a move to broker a compromise with the country.

Al-Falih also said the ministers will look at new metrics to guide the group of Opec and non-Opec countries' decision going forward, including demand expectation for the second half of this year and 2019.