The Saudi Energy Minister said that members of the oil bloc OPEC+ leave politics out of the decision-making process.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz said that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) makes its decisions out of assessments and forecasting, not politics.
The Saudi energy minister said that the OPEC+ decision confirmed earlier this month to slash oil output turned out to be the correct choice to support the stability of the market and industry. The decision was heavily criticized internationally.
Oil prices came close to an all-time high after Russia invaded Ukraine. The prices have now unwound most of their 2022 gains.
OPEC+ is a bloc made up of OPEC and its allies. The group has been boosting output for most of 2022 as demand recovered.
But on December 4, the bloc announced it would be sticking to a plan from October to cut output by 2 million barrels per day from November through 2023.
“Playing politics with statistics and forecasting and not maintaining objectivity often tend to backfire and result in loss of credibility,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said.
“As I have emphasized multiple times, in OPEC+ we leave politics out of our decision-making process, out of our assessments and forecasting, and we focus solely on market fundamentals. This enables us to assess situations in a more objective manner and with much more clarity and this in turn enhances our credibility.”
The energy minister referred to the Russian war in Ukraine as an example, saying that when Russia first invaded, some predicted large supply losses of more than 3 million bpd. He said that at that time, OPEC+ was accused of being behind the curve and not responding to the crisis in a timely manner, but the projected losses did not materialize.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman criticized politicizing statistics and forecasting. He said this agitates consumers and creates confusion in the market. The minister stressed that proactivity and pre-emptiveness have been central to the OPEC+ strategy.
“Without credibility, markets become more volatile and less attractive for all types of participants. The oil market is no different. As OPEC+, we will not hesitate in handling any market situation. The more credible we are, the easier our task is in bringing stability to markets, and the more stability we bring, the greater our credibility is cemented and recognized,” he said.