September 9, 2019 / 10:11 AM / 10 days ago

New Saudi energy minister says OPEC+ alliance staying for long term

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s new energy minister said on Monday the world’s top oil exporter would keep working with other producers to achieve market balance and that an OPEC-led supply-curbing deal would survive “with the will of everybody”.

Saudi Arabia's new Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman speaks during a panel discussion at the 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Satish Kumar

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, who took over as energy minister from Khalid al-Falih on Sunday, told reporters there would be “no radical” change in the oil policy of Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s de facto leader, which he said was based on strategic considerations such as reserves and energy consumption.

The prince had helped negotiate the deal between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, to cut global crude supply in order to support prices and balance the market.

He told reporters on the sidelines of an energy conference in Abu Dhabi that the OPEC+ alliance was “staying for the long term” and called on OPEC members to comply with output targets.

“We have always worked in a cohesive, coherent way within OPEC to make sure that producers work and prosper together,” the prince said.

“It would be wrong from my end to pre-empt the rest of the OPEC members,” he said when asked whether there was a need for further oil production cuts to support the market.

Oil prices rose on Monday on his remarks. Global benchmark Brent crude futures were up 46 cents at $62.00 a barrel by 1011 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate was up 48 cents at $57.00.[O/R]

COMPLIANCE

Prince Abdulaziz said oil markets were being driven by “negative sentiments” but he did not believe there was an impact on oil demand growth. He said the global economic outlook was expected to improve once a trade dispute between the United States and China was resolved.

“People are speculating about a global recession but there is no recession today,” he said.

The oil ministers of Oman and Iraq earlier told reporters in Abu Dhabi that it was too early to assess whether deeper cuts were required to support oil markets at a time of global recession concerns due to the U.S.-China row.

The energy minister of non-OPEC Oman, Mohammed bin Hamad al-Rumhy, said Muscat would like to see oil at $70 a barrel. He said overall compliance with the supply-curbing deal was good, but there were concerns that compliance was not fully shared.

The oil minister of Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, said Baghdad was committed to complying with the deal and that his country’s production stood at 4.6 million barrels per day.

“We are definitely committed to respect (the curbs) ... our exports have decreased by at least 150,000 bpd from the south,” Thamer Ghadhban said.

OPEC oil output rose in August for the first month this year as higher supply from Iraq and Nigeria outweighed restraint by Saudi Arabia and losses caused by U.S. sanctions on Iran, a Reuters survey found.

Saudi Arabia's new Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman speaks during a panel discussion at the 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Satish Kumar

OPEC, Russia and other non-members agreed in December to reduce supply by 1.2 million bpd from Jan. 1 this year. OPEC’s share of the cut, which now runs to March 2020, is 800,000 bpd, delivered by 11 members and exempting Iran, Libya and Venezuela.

On Sunday the United Arab Emirates’ energy minister, Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazrouei, said OPEC and non-OPEC producers were committed to achieving oil market balance and that Abu Dhabi would support any consensus decision on further production cuts.

The OPEC+ joint ministerial monitoring committee, known as JMMC, will meet on Thursday in Abu Dhabi on the sidelines of the energy conference.

Reporting by Dahlia Nehme, Maha El Dahan, Stanley Carvalho, Rania El Gamal, Dmitry Zhdannikov and Alexander Cornwell in Abu Dhabi; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Dale Hudson and David Evans

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