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OPEC, Russia Slam Trump's Intervention in Oil Producers’ Policies

OPEC, Russia Slam Trump's Intervention in Oil Producers’ Policies

Friday, 7 December, 2018 - 13:30
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih speaking to reporters ahead of OPEC meeting in Vienna on Thursday, December 6, 2018. Reuters
Vienna - Asharq Al-Awsat
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) held its meeting in Vienna on Thursday to agree on a production cut aimed at curbing price declines. The participants did not hesitate to slam US President Donald Trump's interventions in its policies.

Trump urged OPEC to maintain oil output to keep the pressure on prices.

“Hopefully OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted. The World does not want to see, or need, higher oil prices,” he tweeted.

Before Thursday’s meeting, Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih pointedly said Washington should back off.

"We don't need permission from anyone to cut," he said.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, for his part, said OPEC does not make its decisions based on "politicians’ appeals on Twitter.”

Rebuffing Wednesday’s tweets by Trump, Novak said the group’s members make decisions based on the market situation, the balance between oil supply and demand and available reserves.

"In the first place we are focusing on the industry’s objective index," he stressed.

After stressing that his country opposes reducing its oil production due to US sanctions, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh complained that it was the first time a US president was trying to tell OPEC what to do.

"They should know that OPEC is not part of their Secretary of Energy," said Zanganeh.

He explained that the estimated surplus currently on the market amounted to 1.3-2.4 million barrels per day.

Ideally, "the price would be better to stand at $60-70. That is acceptable for most OPEC countries."

As for OPEC’s future trends, which the market is waiting for, Falih pointed out that the meeting “seeks enough reduction to achieve market balance.”

OPEC, which pumps one-third of global output, wants to curb a 30 percent fall in prices in the past two months.

He said that a cut of a million barrels per day would be ideal.

"Ideally, everyone should join equally. I think that's the fair and equitable solution," he said.

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