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Friday, March 31, 2023


Saudi Arabia Reiterates That OPEC+ Decisions Are Not Political

Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com,

  • Saudi Arabia’s energy minister has once again emphasized that the OPEC+ alliance bases its decisions purely on market fundamentals.

  • The group has been accused of cutting production for political reasons, particularly after its 2 million bpd cut in October.

  • While Russia unilaterally announced a production cut in February, the OPEC+ group is expected to keep quotas unchanged in the short term.

The OPEC+ alliance bases its decisions on oil market fundamentals, not on political bias, the energy minister of OPEC’s de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, said on Monday, reiterating previous comments from OPEC+ that it is looking at the markets when agreeing on oil production levels.

The decisions of the OPEC+ alliance, which is led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, are not politicized, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said at an event in Riyadh today, as carried by Reuters.

OPEC+ is flexible enough to adjust its production quotas if necessary, the Saudi minister said.

After agreeing last October to cut quotas by 2 million barrels per day (bpd) from November, multiple OPEC+ producers defended the group’s decision in a wave of statements in what looked like a coordinated response to U.S. criticism of the cut. The U.S. Administration warned that there would be some consequences for Saudi Arabia for its decision together with Russia to steer OPEC+ into the oil production cut.

More recently, delegates said earlier this month that OPEC+ doesn’t plan to change its oil production targets after Russia announced a cut in its output for March.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on February 10 that Russia would cut its oil production by 500,000 bpd in March as a result of the Western sanctions and the price cap on Russian crude oil. 

A week earlier, OPEC+ kept its production targets unchanged in a widely expected ‘wait-and-see’ approach to supply just ahead of the EU ban on Russian diesel and other petroleum products. 

One of OPEC’s largest and most influential members, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said earlier this month that declining oil production in many countries and the potential of insufficient crude supply would be a bigger problem for the oil market next year than how demand would evolve.

“I’m not worried about demand — what worries us is whether we are going to have enough supplies in the future,” the UAE’s Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei told Bloomberg TV last week.  

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