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Last update: Thu, 19 Jan 2017 07am
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UAE minister says too early to consider prolonging oil cuts

imageABU DHABI: UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said Wednesday it is too early to consider extending an OPEC deal to cut oil output and lift low prices.

"Let's wait a little bit. It's premature to jump" on extending the deal, he told journalists on the sidelines of an oil conference in Abu Dhabi.

Mazrouei said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would hold a meeting on January 20 in Vienna.

OPEC and non-OPEC oil producing countries agreed to cap production from January 1, but doubts remain about implementation before data is released at the end of the month.

On Tuesday, oil prices fell sharply for the second straight session on nervousness about the OPEC agreement.

US oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate lost $1.14 to end at $50.82 a barrel, with analysts expressing nervousness about the agreement, which is a major support for the commodity.

Mazrouei also said the UAE would continue to reinforce its production capacity, despite the country earlier announcing it would reduce output.

He said the UAE aimed to reach a production capacity of 3.5 million barrels per day by 2018.

"Countries build spare capacity. And that buffer is needed to have market stability when there is a shortage in the market," Mazrouei said.

In December, UAE's oil giant ADNOC announced it was "committed to meeting new OPEC terms", adding on Twitter that it would "work closely with customers on revised allocations for January".

According to its website, ADNOC manages and oversees oil production of more than 3.15 million barrels per day.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2017