Saudi energy minister says OPEC will take politics out of oil decisions

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud speaks during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, November 10, 2021.

Eve Hermann | Reuters

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said on Tuesday that OPEC+ would keep politics out of the decision-making process in the interest of the “public interest” of stable energy prices.

Governments and international organizations around the world have imposed punitive sanctions and cut economic ties with Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, but OPEC – the intergovernmental organization of 13 oil-exporting countries – does not appear ready to take action against Russia, a key partner in the broader OPEC+ alliance and itself an exporter. major oil.

Speaking to CNBC on Tuesday, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said the organization’s very existence depends on separating its mission to stabilize oil prices from other geopolitical factors, even in the event of a widely condemned invasion.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution earlier this month urging Russia to abandon the invasion and withdraw all forces, and Prince Abdulaziz said there are other forums in which the kingdom can express its opinion on Russia’s actions, which is in line with With a global response.

“When it comes to OPEC+ – I’m going to take advantage of that privilege by saying I’ve been in it for 35 years, and I know how we’ve been able to separate our political differences from what is for the greater good of all of us,” Prince Abdulaziz said in an interview with Hadley Gamble on CNN. C at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Tuesday.

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“This culture seeped into OPEC+, so when we enter the OPEC meeting room, or the OPEC building, everyone leaves their politics at the outside door of that building, and that culture was with us.”

The Minister of Energy indicated that OPEC and OPEC +, which were formed after agreeing on production cut deals with non-OPEC countries, including Russia, have dealt with various countries involved in conflict or aggressive actions throughout their history, including Iraq and Iran.

He added, “The reason we’ve been able to maintain OPEC+ is because we discuss these matters, these issues, in a completely aloof style where we focus more on the common good, regardless of politics.”

UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei echoed the statements of Prince Abdulaziz, who also highlighted that the organization continued to operate while its constituent members were at war, without taking sides. He added that its sole mission is to “stabilize the market.”

“Our goal is to calm the market and try to find volumes as much as possible, and if we ask anyone to leave, we raise prices,” he said.

“Then we do something that goes against what consumers want, what consumers are crying about in many countries around the world, who probably can’t afford the prices where the prices can go.”

Al-Mazrouei said countries could unilaterally refuse to buy Russian oil, but the organization’s expulsion of its members would go against its principles.

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