UAE oil minister defends OPEC’s decision not to cut production

Suhail al-Mazrouei said he was confident the oil market would stabilize

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United Arab Emirates’ energy minister said on Wednesday he did not regret last year’s OPEC decision not to cut the production ceiling in the face of falling prices.

“I am sure that the decision was right and I am confident that the market will stabilise,” Suhail al-Mazrouei said at an industry conference in Dubai.

“We are not regretting the decision we took, we had no option,” he said. “Yes it’s painful for many producers around the world and we share that pain, but it doesn’t mean that we need to do something that is not sustainable.”

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) made a historic policy shift last November, led by Saudi Arabia and supported by its Gulf allies, by refusing to cut production to prop up prices in a bid to defend market share. The group reconfirmed the strategy at a meeting in June.

But Mazrouei said the decision not to cut production quotas was not just about defending market share.

“The drive was not to protect market share and not to care about the price. I think we need to look at it differently than just protecting the market share,” he said.

OPEC ministers are set to meet next in Vienna on Dec. 4 to decide on the group’s production.

Mazrouei had earlier said he was confident the oil market would stabilize.

“The (oil) industry needs to watch supply and demand. We should not allow the oversupply to distort the market,” he said.

“We are confident though that the market will stabilize itself and we have seen signs of that stabilization.”

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