OPEC+ members back Riyadh amid US-Saudi tensions

A 3D-printed oil pump jack is seen in front of a displayed OPEC logo in this illustration picture, April 14, 2020. (By Reuters)

Several member states of OPEC+, the producer group comprising the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plus its allies, have expressed their endorsement of a recently agreed upon production cut, after the United States accused Saudi Arabia of coercing others to support the move.

Earlier this month, the 23-member OPEC+, including Saudi Arabia and Russia, agreed to reduce its November output by two million barrels per day, citing “uncertainty” in the market.

The decision has sharply angered the US, with President Joe Biden threatening “consequences” for Saudi Arabia. Washington said the cut would boost Russia’s foreign earnings.

Saudi Arabia defended the decision as economically rather than politically motivated and denied it was supporting Moscow in its offensive on Ukraine.

The kingdom’s defense minister and King Salman’s son, Prince Khalid bin Salman, noted that the decision was unanimous.

His remarks were backed by ministers of several OPEC+ member states, including Iraq.

“There is complete consensus among OPEC+ countries that the best approach in dealing with the oil market conditions during the current period of uncertainty and lack of clarity is a pre-emptive approach that supports market stability and provides the guidance needed for the future,” Iraq’s state oil marketer SOMO said in a statement on Sunday.

The United Arab Emirates also echoed the Iraqi and Saudi remarks, with Emirati energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei saying in a tweet “I would like to clarify that the latest OPEC+ decision, which was unanimously approved, was a purely technical decision, with NO political intentions whatsoever.”

Kuwait Petroleum Corporation Chief Executive Officer Nawaf Saud al-Sabah also welcomed the decision. He said his country was keen to maintain a balanced oil market.

Oman and Bahrain said in separate statements that OPEC had unanimously agreed on the cut.

In addition, Algeria’s energy minister Mohamed Arkab called the decision “historic.”

Arkab and OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais, who was on a visit to Algeria, expressed their complete confidence in the decision.

The OPEC chief said the organization targeted a balance between supply and demand rather than a specific price.

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