OPEC+ ‘essential’ for stable oil market, Saudi Arabia says

OPEC+ has resisted calls by consuming nations including the US to raise their output at a faster rate to calm crude oil prices, which have increased since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Saudi Arabia and the UAE hold the bulk of OPEC spare capacity.

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RIYADH: The OPEC+ oil producers’ alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Russia plays an “essential role” in bringing balance and stability to oil markets, the Saudi Cabinet said on Tuesday.

Ministers urged the international community to assume responsibility for maintaining energy supplies, and to be aware of the danger of Iran supplying the Houthi militia in Yemen with ballistic missiles and drones.

Houthi attacks targeting Aramco facilities at the weekend caused output at a refinery to temporarily drop. The Kingdom said on Monday it would not bear responsibility for any global supply shortage as a result of Houthi attacks on its installations.

OPEC+ has resisted calls by consuming nations including the US to raise their output at a faster rate to calm crude oil prices, which have increased since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Saudi Arabia and the UAE hold the bulk of OPEC spare capacity.

The alliance has been raising output by 400,000 barrels per day each month since August to unwind cuts made when the COVID-19 pandemic hit demand. The group next meets on March 31.

“I do not think OPEC+ will make a new decision at its next meeting, because most OPEC members see the current price increase as a result of geopolitical factors,” an OPEC+ source said.

“At the same time, it is unlikely that the pressure of Western governments on important OPEC countries to increase their production will be fruitful.”

The price of Brent crude, the global benchmark, continued its upward movement on Tuesday, passing $116 a barrel. At one point this month it hit $139 a barrel, the highest since 2008.

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