Saudi Arabia’s energy minister recommends driving down oil inventories

47651533532 aafec71096 zKhalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, has said that he recommended ‘gently’ driving oil inventories down at a time of abundant global supplies and that OPEC would not make hasty decisions on output ahead of the June meeting

“Overall, the market is in a delicate situation,” Falih told reporters before a ministerial panel meeting of top OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers, including Saudi Arabia and Russia.

While there is concern about supply disruptions, inventories are rising and the market should see a “comfortable supply situation in the weeks and months to come,” he said.

The organisation of the petroleum exporting countries, of which Saudi Arabia is the de facto leader, would have more data at its next meeting in late June to help it reach the best decision on output, Falih added.

“It is critical that we don’t make hasty decisions – given the conflicting data, the complexity involved, and the evolving situation,” he said, describing the outlook as “quite foggy” due in part to a trade dispute between the US and China.

“But I want to assure you that our group has always done the right thing in the interests of both consumers and producers, and we will continue to do so,” he noted.

OPEC, Russia and other non-OPEC producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, agreed to reduce output by 1.2mn bpd from 1 January for six months, a deal designed to stop inventories building up and weakening prices.

Alexander Novak, Russian energy minister, told reporters that different options were available for the output deal, including a rise in production in the second half of the year.

Suhail Al-Mazrouei, the energy minister of the UAE, stated that oil producers were capable of filling any gap in the oil market and that relaxing supply cut was not “the right decision.”

Mazrouei further added that the UAE did not want to see a rise in inventories that could lead to a price collapse and that OPEC would act wisely to maintain sustainable market balance.

“As UAE we see that the job is not done yet, there is still a period of time to look at the supply and demand and we don’t see any need to alter the agreement in the meantime,” he concluded.

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