DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates on Monday urged Western countries to be “reasonable” in their expectations, underlining its commitment to the global OPEC+ energy alliance.
The grouping of the 13 members of the Saudi-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and their 10 allies, including Russia, is an “alliance to stay”.
“We always believe that whatever we do as countries, when it comes to production and this work, it needs always to stay out of politics,” said UAE’s Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei during an energy forum in Dubai.
A surge in prices and supply fears since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month have led to calls for OPEC to increase output.
But the OPEC+ group plans to boost production by just 400,000 barrels a day in April, the same pace as in past months.
“Russia is an important member and, leaving the politics aside, that volume... is needed today, and unless someone is willing to come and bring 10 million barrels, we don’t see that... someone can substitute Russia,” said Mazrouei.
Despite increased calls to ramp up production to calm the volatile oil market, Mazrouei said it was “difficult”, with countries “facing a natural decline reduction” in large part due to shrinking long-term investments in the oil sector.
At the COP26 conference on climate change held last year in Scotland, “all of the producers felt that they are uninvited and unwanted and felt like they are in corner, but now we are on stage and they want us to produce more so we are again superheroes,” he said. “It’s not going to work like that.”
Mazrouei called for long-term investments in the sector and a more “reasonable” approach to a clean energy transition.
“If Europe needs gas and needs gas quickly... they need to sit with the producers and they need to identify the requirements, and they need to be reasonable and realistic,” he said.
Mazrouei also called for a “diplomatic” solution to the Ukraine war, warning that it was also impacting other commodities, including food.