OPEC is not the enemy of the U.S., UAE minister says

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© Reuters. UAE's Oil Minister OPEC President Al Mazrouei addresses a news conference after an OPEC meeting in Vienna© Reuters. UAE’s Minister President Al Mazrouei addresses a news conference after an meeting in Vienna

By Maha El Dahan and Rania El Gamal

ABU DHABI (Reuters) – The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is not the enemy of the United States, United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.

“We are complementing each other, we are not enemies here,” Mazrouei told an industry conference in Abu Dhabi, addressing the relationship between OPEC and major consuming countries like the United States.

OPEC, and other leading global oil producers led by , agreed in December to cut their combined oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day from January in order to balance the oil market.

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The decision came despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s calls to oil exporters to refrain from cutting production, saying it would trigger higher oil prices worldwide.

Mazrouei said the average oil price in 2018 was $70 a barrel. His Omani counterpart Mohammed al-Rumhi, addressing the same event, said he expected a price of between $60 and $80 a barrel in 2019.

The 1.2 million bpd cut should be enough to balance the market, Mazrouei said, expecting the correction to start this month and to be achieved in the first half of the year.

He said there was no need for major oil exporters to hold an extraordinary meeting before the one planned in April.

“Things are working well,” said Oman’s Rumhi, whose country is taking part in the supply reduction agreement without being a member of OPEC. He also said there was no need for major exporters to meet before April.

(This story officially corrects to show that Mazrouei was talking about average oil price in 2018, not 2019 in paragraph 5.)

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