Oil prices are already worrying: Brent crude oil has fallen about 17% from a peak of four years achieved in early October.
OPEC is experiencing one of the hardest years of its history, strives to reduce oil production to increase it as quickly as possible. And you may have to turn the course again.
Saudi Arabia and other manufacturers meeting in Abu Dhabi this weekend face a worrying perspective: although US sanctions against Iran eliminate significant quantities raw from world markets, a new wave of American shale oil threatens to create a new surplus in 2019.
Oil prices are already reflecting these concerns. Brent crude oil for January delivery has decreased by almost 17% from a four-year high reached in early October. The Organization for Oil Producing Countries (OPEC) and its Allies have expressed concern and last month indicated that they may need to reduce close historical production levels.
"The OPEC message seems to be: Attach the seat belts. The group seems ready to push the accelerator to the maximum to increase production, and immediately push the brakes tight enough and talk about reducing supply," said Bob McNally, CEO of Rapidan Energy Advisors LLC, a consultancy in Washington.
If the group leader, Saudi Arabia, finally decides that it is necessary to make new cuts, it will meet a number of challenges.
It must once again secure the support of the rival waiting partner, Russia, which has less need for high oil prices. The two countries have begun to consult on the subject, Tass State Agency reported on Wednesday. There is also the risk of opposing the country's most important geopolitical allies, the US president Donald Trump.
All this is far from the usual OPEC mantran to maintain stability and careful marketing management. In addition, it reflects the level of uncertainty in a market that experiences major changes in supply and demand.
At the beginning of the summer, Brent rose above US $ 86 per barrel, as the risk of production deficit due to sanctions against Iran and the economic collapse in Venezuela shook the market. The losses of the two members of OPEC threatened to lead to the largest break in supply since the beginning of the decade.
But there are also big things on the other side of the supply equation, which means that the risk of scarcity can not be sustained. OPEC has been "a way to produce as much as possible" to assure consumers, Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih said in Riyadh last month. The Kingdom has increased production to close record levels, while Libya extracts most in five years.
Then it's the smaller issue of American production. which grows no more than a century, just as fuel demand is at risk due to the slowdown in emerging economies and the US trade war. and China.
At this time, the global markets are "well-delivered" in the evaluation of the International Energy Agency, which provides advice to consumer nations. OPEC's own forecasts show that next year the world needs about 1 million barrels a day less than the 31.8 million that its 15 members pumped in September.
"They will definitely like sometime next year to try to organize a decrease in production. Everything points to a rather weak balance: the global economy is slowing down, China's trade tensions have a visible impact on demand," said Ed Morse, chief of raw materials at Citigroup Inc.
The weekend's meeting of the Joint Monitoring Ministerial Committee (JMMC), a six-member body representing the coalition in 25 countries, aims to be an interim report before all ministers discuss the policy next month in Vienna. However, it can provide a significant signal of what to come.