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Russia is key OPEC member says UAE Minister in apparent rebuke of NATO

UAE's Minister of Energy and Industry Suhail Al-Mazrouei on 14 January 2020 [KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images]
UAE's Minister of Energy and Industry Suhail Al-Mazrouei on 14 January 2020 [KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images]

UAE Energy Chief has doubled down on OPEC's alliance with Russia and insists that Moscow will always be part of the inter-governmental organisation. Abu-Dhabi's Energy Minister, Suhail Al-Mazrouei, said yesterday that Russia, with its 10 million barrels of oil a day, is an important member of the global OPEC+ energy alliance and sees no other substitute to replace its contribution to the global supply of oil.

Only Saudi Arabia exports more oil than Russia and any effort to block Russia from the oil market will have a major impact on prices.  "And leaving the politics aside, that volume is needed today," Al-Mazrouei said during a speech at the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Forum in Dubai. "Unless someone is willing to come and bring 10 million barrels, we don't see that someone can substitute Russia."

Al-Mazrouei described the OPEC+ alliance as one that is here to stay and shot down any suggestion that the UAE would strike out on its own and increase production unilaterally. "Staying together, staying focused, and not allowing politics to kick in to this organisation … we always believe that whatever we do as countries when it comes to production and to this work, it needs always to stay out of politics," Al-Mazrouei added.

READ: OPEC+ set for only slight output target increase despite Ukraine – sources

At a separate interview with CNBC, Al-Mazrouei insisted that Russia will remain part of OPEC+, a group of countries that includes the original five founding members and several other states, including Russia. They account for around 40 per cent of the world's oil supply.

"Always, Russia is going to be part of that group and we need to respect them," Al-Mazrouei said stressing on Russia's vital role. "OPEC+, when they speak to us, they need to speak to us, including Russia."

Al-Mazrouei's comments come amid renewed pressure to boost oil supplies following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. To isolate Moscow, Western leaders have been pressing on Riyadh to produce more oil and ease the fuel crises. The Gulf State, however, has not agreed to their request.

"We are in agreement with their target or their objective of trying to calm the market and balance the market," Al-Mazrouei added, in an apparent criticism of the NATO countries. "But you don't do it this way. You don't do it by putting sanctions on a hydrocarbon that you cannot replace — unless you want the prices to go high."

READ: US refiners turn to Middle East for fuel oil after Russia import ban

Categories
Europe & RussiaInternational OrganisationsMiddle EastNATONewsOPECRussiaUAEUkraine
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