CAIRO — OPEC+ member states lined up on Sunday to endorse the steep production cut agreed earlier this month, after the White House accused Saudi Arabia of coercing some other nations into supporting the move.
The United States noted on Thursday that the cut would boost Russia’s foreign earnings and suggested it had been engineered for political reasons by Saudi Arabia, which on Sunday denied it was supporting Moscow in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said the kingdom was working hard to support stability and balance in oil markets, including by establishing and maintaining the agreement of the OPEC+ alliance.
Prince Khalid bin Salman Al Saud, the kingdom’s defense minister and King Salman’s son, also said the Oct 5 decision to reduce output by 2 million barrels per day, taken despite oil markets being tight, was unanimous and based on economic factors.
His comments were backed by ministers of several OPEC+ member states, including the United Arab Emirates.
The Gulf state’s Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei wrote in a tweet: “I would like to clarify that the latest OPEC+ decision, which was unanimously approved, was a purely technical decision, with NO political intentions whatsoever.”
His comment followed a statement from Iraq’s state oil marketer SOMO.
“There is complete consensus among OPEC+ countries that the best approach in dealing with the oil market conditions during the current period of uncertainty and lack of clarity is a preemptive approach that supports market stability and provides the guidance needed for the future,” said the State Oil Marketing Organization in a statement.
Kuwait Petroleum Corporation chief executive officer Nawaf Saud Al-Sabah also welcomed the decision by OPEC+, which includes other major producers, notably Russia, and said the country was keen to maintain a balanced oil market, state news agency KUNA reported.
Oman and Bahrain said in separate statements that OPEC had unanimously agreed on the reduction.
Algeria’s Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab called the decision “historic”, and he and OPEC Secretary-General Haitham Al Ghais, who was visiting Algeria, expressed their full confidence in it, Algeria’s Ennahar TV reported.
Al Ghais later told a news conference that the organization targeted a balance between supply and demand rather than a specific price.
Oil inventories in major economies are at lower levels than when OPEC cut output in the past.
Some analysts said recent volatility in crude markets could be remedied by a cut that would help attract investors to an underperforming market.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that President Joe Biden will act “methodically” in deciding how to respond to Saudi Arabia over oil output cuts, but options include changes to US security assistance.
Sullivan also said Biden has no plans to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud at a G20 leaders summit in November in Indonesia.