By Alex Lawler, Ahmad Ghaddar and Vladimir Soldatkin
LONDON / MOSCOW, Nov 26 (Reuters) – OPEC + is closely monitoring reports on the new variant of the coronavirus, sources said on Friday, with some countries expressing concern that oil market prospects could worsen less than a week earlier. of a meeting to establish the group’s pumping policy.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC +, are facing a US-led release of crude stocks in an attempt to cool prices.
OPEC + has resisted calls from the United States to do more to lower oil prices, and has continued to ease restrictions by adding 400,000 barrels of supply a day every month since August.
Global authorities reacted with alarm on Friday to a new variant of the coronavirus detected in South Africa, with the European Union and Britain among those tightening border controls, as researchers sought to find out if the mutation is resistant to the vaccine.
Oil prices fell more than 9% on Friday to less than $ 75 a barrel.
“It is not good as it adds pessimism to an already weak outlook,” said an OPEC delegate, who asked not to be named, of the new variant.
OPEC + meets on December 2 to decide its production policy. Another source said the group would assess the importance of the variant to the market.
Another OPEC delegate acknowledged the price slump on Friday, but said it was not yet clear what impact the variance would have. “I am very concerned. There are many unknowns at the moment.”