DUBAI: Members of the oil producers’ alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Russia “leave their politics outside the door” when they meet to discuss global markets, the Kingdom’s energy minister said on Tuesday.
Volatility in oil markets sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would be worse without the OPEC+ alliance, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told the World Government Summit in Dubai. Oil shot up to nearly $140 a barrel after Russia sent troops into its neighbor on Feb. 24, and crude is still trading at well over $100.
“If it wasn’t for OPEC+, what would have happened to energy security, stability and prosperity in the past two weeks?” Prince Abdulaziz said. “I certainly believe that if it wasn’t for OPEC+ existing, we would not be celebrating a sustainable energy market.
“When we get into the OPEC meeting room or building, everybody leaves his politics outside the door.”
OPEC+ plans to increase oil output by 400,000 barrels a day in April, as in past months, despite calls for it to accelerate production by even more. UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei called for trust from the West, rather than being told to “do this or do that.”
“We need their understanding that what we are doing is to the benefit of consumers,” Al-Mazrouei told the summit. “When we say this is the right way to do it, we know it from experience, so trust us.”
In a World Government Summit panel discussion on Monday entitled “Meeting the 2022 challenge: Will energy security derail the energy transition?,” experts discussed ways in which countries can shift their energy priorities to meet the challenges.
Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Emirates National Investment, said African energy producers could offer European nations the energy security solutions they need as the continent weans itself off Russian oil and gas.
“We don’t have our own energy so we never thought about a strategy on energy security,” said Descalzi. “When you don’t have something like that to think about, (how) can you cope with the future? Africa is a good opportunity because they need development, we need gas, and that is a good combination.”
For his part, Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum, argued that energy security and energy transition do not need to be as mutually exclusive as they are so often depicted.
In fact, there can be no energy transition without energy security and affordability, he told the panel.
In that context, he said, the focus has been too much on starving supply and investment in oil and gas in an attempt to solve the climate crisis, while demand keeps soaring.