US, Russia Row Didn’t Influence OPEC+ Output Cut—UAE

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has insisted the output cut announced this month by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, including Russia, was not politically motivated against the United States.

The 13-nation, Saudi-led OPEC cartel and its 10 allies headed by Russia cut production by two million barrels a day from November, adding further upward pressure on elevated crude prices.

The decision drew a swift rebuke from the administration of President Joe Biden, which had hoped for lower prices ahead of the November midterm elections, and drew criticism that the cartel was providing Russia with economic support that would help to finance its war in Ukraine.

It was also reported that US President Joe Biden was re-evaluating the country’s relationship with Saudi Arabia just as lawmakers in the country also considered passing legislation that would target OPEC on the grounds of the oil group breaching antitrust legislation.

The strain also looked to potentially reviving the NOPEC legislation from earlier years as well as removing US troops stationed in Saudi Arabia and UAE and cutting arms supplies.

Saudi Arabia has already previously insisted that the October 5 move by OPEC+ was taken “purely on economic considerations” and rejected as baseless allegations that it was politically motivated against the US.

On Tuesday, UAE energy minister Mr Suhail al-Mazrouei said the OPEC+ decision was good and that it had made it possible to bring prices back and stabilise them at a level close to that of October 2021.

“I would like to reiterate that there is nothing political about any decision we take within OPEC,” he told reporters in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, one of the largest oil exporters in the world.

“There was an attempt to politicise the decision, which forced many officials to clarify for the hundredth time that our decisions are technical decisions,” he added.

He explained that each member of OPEC+ “takes into account the interest of their country and the interest of this industry, which is based on the balance between supply and demand”.

Other Gulf oil producers have also reiterated their support for the OPEC+ decision, emphasising its economic dimension. All are close allies of the West and maintain good relations with Russia, but none have publicly supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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