OPEC+ Decisions Not Politicized, Saudi Energy Minister Says

Decisions by the massive oil block OPEC+ are not politicized, Saudi Arabian energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said. 

The energy minister said that the decisions are based on market fundamentals and that the alliance of oil producers is sufficiently flexible to adjust policy as needed.

Prince Abdulaziz made the remarks while speaking at a media forum in Riyadh about last October’s decision to cut the group’s production target by 2 million barrels per day.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, OPEC+ for short, agreed in October 2022 to make the cuts until the end of 2023.

The OPEC+ alliance includes Russia in the group of oil bloc allies. 

Prince Abdulaziz’s remarks on Monday reiterated remarks that were made in an interview with Energy Aspects last week that the decision was locked in for the rest of the year.

Saudi Arabia’s pledge that OPEC+ will hold oil supplies steady is setting up global oil markets for a year of two contrasting halves, experts say. 

The Saudi energy minister’s remarks said that the production cuts last year show that OPEC + has the readiness to be flexible. 

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.

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.

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