US President Donald Trump has criticized the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), saying “oil prices are artificially very high.”
In a tweet, Trump warned that the US "will not" accept artificial price controls from OPEC, which represents 14 of the world's leading oil producers.
"Looks like OPEC is at it again," Trump said on Friday. "With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!"
Trump’s comments come after the international benchmark, Brent crude, traded above 73 dollars per barrel on Friday after hitting its highest point since November 2014.
OPEC’s members and some non-OPEC oil producing countries have been reducing production since the start of 2017.
The output cuts which will expire at the end of this year have succeeded in boosting oil prices above $70 a barrel from below $30 a barrel in early 2016.
OPEC is scrambling to reassert its role in the oil market in the face of growing threats from US shale oil. The organization currently has 14 members, including Gabon and Equatorial Guinea which joined it recently.
Oil drops after Trump tweet
Oil prices fell following Trump's tweet. Brent futures were at $73.25 per barrel, down 53 cents from their last close. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were down 45 cents at $67.84 a barrel.
Energy ministers in OPEC countries reacted to Trump’s tweet, saying prices are not artificially high.
“We are doing our role to correct the market,” United Arab Emirates Oil Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said, according to Reuters.
“There are many things affecting the market, not just supply and demand,” he continued.