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Saudi Arabia, UAE back OPEC cuts as US envoy warns of ‘uncertainty’

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Monday defended a decision by OPEC and its allies to cut oil production, even as a US envoy warned of “economic uncertainty” ahead for the world.

While cordial, comments from the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference showed the rift between the United States and the Gulf Arab countries it supports militarily in the Greater Middle East.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman alluded to this in brief remarks at the event, noting that upcoming UN climate change summits will be held in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

“We don’t owe it to anyone but ourselves,” the prince said to applause.

Emirati Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei echoed this defence. While saying OPEC and its allies are “just a phone call away if the requirements are there” to boost production, he made no suggestion such a boost would be on the way anytime soon. .

“I can assure you that we in the UAE, together with our colleagues in OPEC and OPEC+, are committed to providing the world with what it needs,” al-Mazrouei said. “But at the same time, we’re not the only producers in the world.

OPEC and a loose confederation of other countries led by Russia agreed in early October to cut production by 2 million barrels of oil per day, starting in November.

OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, insisted its decision stemmed from concerns about the global economy. Analysts in the United States and Europe warn that a recession threatens the West due to inflation and related interest rate hikes, as well as Russia’s war-affected food and oil supplies. against Ukraine.

“The global economy is on a knife edge,” said Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chief executive of state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.

U.S. politicians, meanwhile, reacted angrily to a move that could keep gasoline prices high. An average gallon of regular gasoline in the United States now costs $3.76, down from June’s record high of $5 a gallon, but still high enough to bite into consumers’ wallets. Benchmark Brent crude settled at $95 a barrel on Monday.

“I think at the end of the day, we face economic uncertainty on a global scale,” said Amos Hochstein, the US envoy for energy affairs.

Hochstein declined to speak to The Associated Press after the event in the United Arab Emirates.

President Joe Biden, who visited Saudi Arabia in July and punched Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ahead of a meeting, recently warned the kingdom that “there will be consequences for what they did”.

Saudi Arabia has hit back, publicly saying the Biden administration is seeking to delay OPEC cuts by a month, which could help reduce the risk of a spike in gasoline prices ahead of the US election. mid-term of November 8.

The back and forth between Riyadh and Washington shows how strained relations have remained between the two countries since the horrific 2018 killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi security forces. US intelligence agencies believe the murder was carried out on the orders of Prince Mohammed.


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