Arab News, Thursday, Dec 6, 2018 | Rabi Al Awwal 28, 1440
‘Premature’ to confirm OPEC+ cuts: Saudi minister
Saudi Energy Minister
Khalid Al-Falih has dismissed suggestions that OPEC and its partner producers
such as Russia will cut output at the next meeting as “premature.”
The oil producers are scheduled to meet in Vienna
on Dec. 6 to discuss production policy for the next year.
Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg TV on
Tuesday, the minister said that talks between producers were needed to “hear
about their views about supply, demand and projections of their own country’s
production,” before deciding on the best course of action for the market.
“We just need to figure out what needs to be done
and by how much,” he said while attending UN climate talks in Poland.
His comments follow earlier remarks made in Abu
Dhabi last month when he said that Opec+ should think about cutting production
by 1 million barrels a day.
On Tuesday, he clarified these comments, telling
Bloomberg that while projections said that there would be an oversupply of 1
million barrels, the market would have to wait until the Vienna meeting to be
certain about that figure.
Any reduction in output relied on all of OPEC and
its partners contributing to a cut, Al-Falih said. Russia was “in principle” in
favor of a reduction in output, he said.
There has been some global resistance to cuts in
OPEC oil production, with US President Donald Trump pushing Saudi Arabia to pump
more oil to keep fuel prices low for Americans.
Al-Falih told Bloomberg that the riots in France
over hikes in the cost of diesel was a result of “governments unreasonably
taxing energy,” rather than the underlying price of crude oil.
“We want a thriving global economy and that
requires affordable energy,” he said.
“Saudi Arabia released a lot of oil in the last
six months … and the reason we did that is to make sure that energy supplies are
plentiful and affordable. Yet consumer countries go and impose tax after tax
after tax and take up the slack we are releasing and that is not fair,” he said.
Saudi Arabia currently produces between 11 million
and 11.2 million barrels of oil a day, the Saudi minister said.
The price of oil has tumbled from four-year highs
of more than $86 a barrel in early October to trade at about $63 per barrel on
On Monday, Qatar — which is currently being
boycotted by Saudi Arabia and other Arab states for alleged links to terrorism —
said it would leave OPEC next year to focus on gas production instead. The
Qataris have said they will attend the December OPEC meeting.