Oil prices climb, Russia and Kazakhstan increase production

The price of Brent crude rose above $68 per barrel for the first time since January 2020. As of 11:00, the price of May futures for Brent oil on London's ICE Futures Exchange amounted to $68.04 per barrel, which was $1.3 (1.95%) higher than the price of the previous session, Interfax reports.

The price of WTI crude oil futures for April in electronic trading of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) reached $64.92 per barrel, which was $1.09 (1.71%) higher than the level at the close of the market on Thursday.

OPEC+ allows Russia and Kazakhstan to increase production

The ministers of OPEC+ countries, unexpectedly for the market, refused to increase oil production in April by 500,000 barrels per day. In addition, Saudi Arabia extended its own voluntary restrictions of 1 million barrels per day for another month and promised to return those volumes to the market when appropriate. Russia and Kazakhstan were exempt from the rule again and can thus increase production from April.

"Following the meeting, the countries participating in the agreement decided to extend the current level of reduction in oil production for April 2021. At the same time, separate conditions were agreed for Kazakhstan and Russia, providing for a further increase in production in this period by 20,000 and 130,000 barrels per day accordingly," the press service of the Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan said.

It was important for Russia to increase oil production in April due to seasonal demand for oil products.

In April, OPEC+ countries decided not to increase oil production by 0.5 million barrels per day and leave it at the current level, Bloomberg reports citing delegates to the meeting. The next meetings of the OPEC+ Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) and OPEC+ countries are scheduled for March 31 and April 1, 2021, respectively.