Arab oil producers say OPEC+ should stick to current production deal

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The logo of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is pictured on the wall of the new OPEC headquarters in Vienna March 16, 2010. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

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RIYADH, Feb 20 (Reuters) – OPEC+ is expected to stick to its current agreement to add 400,000 barrels of oil a day each month to production, ministers from Arab oil-producing nations said on Sunday during their meeting. meeting in Saudi Arabia, rejecting calls to pump more. to ease the pressure on prices.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its Russian-led allies, a group known as OPEC+, agreed on February 2 to stick to moderate increases in oil production, citing uncertainty persistent.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told an industry conference in Riyadh that the pandemic and the ongoing recovery “taught us the value of caution”.

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“Careful, a word I know some people hate me for, but…I will continue to be cautious and (aware of) the need to retain flexibility in our strategy and take a long-term view,” said Prince Abdulaziz.

The minister was speaking at a conference also attended by the energy ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, the oil ministers of Iraq and Kuwait and the Egyptian oil minister.

The OPEC+ alliance was already struggling to meet existing targets and came under pressure from major consumers clamoring for more crude to cap the price spike amid fears of possible supply disruptions stemming from the Russian military presence in the US. borders of Ukraine.

On Wednesday, the International Energy Agency urged OPEC+ to narrow the gap between its oil production targets and actual output. Read more

U.S. crude prices sit around $91 a barrel after jumping some 40% since Dec. 1 and earlier this week hit their highest level since 2014. Prices for Brent crude, the global benchmark, also skyrocketed and are approaching 7-year highs. Read more

UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said OPEC+ was still looking at supply and demand, and blamed geopolitics for the oil price spike.

“We’re all hoping for de-escalation…I think our plan has worked and I don’t think the market is hugely undersupplied right now. It’s the other factors that are beyond our control that are impacting the market. “, said Mazrouei.

Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar said “for the benefit of the entire energy market, OPEC+ should stick to the current ongoing and sustained deal” to avoid surprises.

Kuwaiti Oil Minister Mohammed al-Fares said OPEC+ was very sensitive to market reactions.

OPEC+ has said it will work to bring Iran into its oil production pact if Tehran and world powers reach an agreement on reviving their nuclear deal, sources familiar with the group said on Friday. Read more

However, the Saudi minister said the world may not be able to generate all the energy needed for economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic as fossil fuel investment lags.

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Additional reporting by Ahmad Elhamy, Enas Alashray and Yasmin Hussein in Cairo; Editing by Toby Chopra and Jan Harvey

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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