Ministers from OPEC, Russia and their allies met on Tuesday to discuss production policy amid upbeat forecasts for energy demand despite concerns about new coronavirus spikes in India, Brazil and Japan.
The group, known as OPEC+, began a meeting of its joint ministerial monitoring committee (JMMC) a day head of schedule, an OPEC+ source told Reuters.
Before the meeting OPEC+ sources said it was not clear if OPEC+ would hold a full ministerial meeting on Wednesday as originally planned or postpone it to the end of May as output policies were already broadly agreed for the next three months.
OPEC+, which is responsible for more than a third of global production, has cut output by around 8 million barrels per day (bpd), equivalent to over 8% of global demand. The reduction includes a 1 million bpd voluntary cut by Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this month, the group agreed to bring 2.1 million bpd back to the market from May to July, easing cuts to 5.8 million bpd. OPEC+ has forecast global oil demand in 2021 will grow by 6 million bpd, after falling 9.5 million bpd last year.
The group said in a report that even though more than 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered globally, it was concerned that surges in new virus cases in India, Brazil and Japan might derail recovering demand for oil.
Oil prices rebounded on Tuesday after falling in the previous session, with gains capped by growing concern about fuel demand in India, the world's third-biggest crude importer.
The OPEC+ report said it expected commercial oil stocks to reach 2.95 billion barrels in July, taking them below the 2015-2019 average, and to remain below that average for the rest of the year.
It said it saw stocks at about 70 million barrels below the average for the whole of 2021, a more optimistic outlook than its previous forecast of 20 million below the average.