UAE officials issue conflicting statements over OPEC+ production levels
As oil prices continue to climb, the UAE energy minister has made it clear his country supports the existing oil supply agreement with OPEC+ members
By News Desk - March 10 2022

Gas prices top $5 a gallon in Los Angeles, California. (Photo credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Mere hours after the Emirati ambassador to the US announced his country’s willingness to push for the OPEC+ alliance to increase oil production at a faster pace to lower crude prices, the UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei clarified that Abu Dhabi stands with the OPEC+ agreement that is already in place.

In a press release issued on 9 March, the Emirati ambassador to the US, Yousuf al-Otaiba, said: “We favor production increases and will be encouraging OPEC to consider higher production levels.”

However, later in the day, Al-Mazrouei made it clear that his country is committed to the existing agreement with OPEC+ members, including Russia, to only ramp up oil supply by 400,000 barrels per day on a monthly basis, following the sharp cuts implemented in 2020.

Over recent days, Washington has been pushing to convince long-time allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE to significantly increase oil production levels in order to slow down fuel price hikes caused by a litany of economic sanctions imposed on Russia.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the only two oil producing countries in the world that produce well below their capacity, which gives them the possibility of increasing output by a million barrels a day or more to ease oil prices.

However, these attempts by the US have fallen on deaf ears, as on 9 March reports indicated that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and his Emirati counterpart Mohammad bin Zayed both declined phone calls from President Biden, who was looking to get the Gulf leaders to increase their oil output.

The conflicting statements from the UAE officials came as the market also reacted to recent moves made by the US to ease sanctions on Venezuelan oil and amid efforts to revive a nuclear deal with Iran, which could lead to more oil supply coming from the Islamic Republic later this year.

On 8 March, the US placed a ban on Russian oil imports, sending the price of fuel skyrocketing across the globe. Oil prices have surged by more than 30 percent since the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, with Brent crude surpassing $130 a barrel earlier this week.

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