U.A.E. Says Oil Collapse Will Force All Producers to Cap Volumes

  • Consensus on production freeze necessary before OPEC can meet
  • Raising output in short term `is not practical,' Mazrouei says

The oil-price collapse will compel all producers to freeze output and no early OPEC meeting can take place without such a move, the United Arab Emirates’ energy minister said.

“This is the reality,” Suhail Al Mazrouei said Tuesday in Abu Dhabi. “Current prices will force everyone to freeze production; stubbornness doesn’t make sense.”

Saudi Arabia -- the world’s largest crude exporter -- Russia, Venezuela and Qatar have proposed that producers cap production at January levels to bolster prices that have tumbled almost 70 percent in two years. OPEC member Iran, which is ramping up output following the removal of sanctions in January, has said the plan is “ridiculous” and saddles it with “unrealistic demands.”

Venezuela is among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to call for a meeting of oil producers this month, while Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi has said he hopes for such a gathering. The group’s next scheduled meeting is in June.

Mazrouei said he hasn’t received an invitation for an early meeting and a summit won’t be necessary if producers don’t agree in advance to freeze output. That runs counter to Iran’s plans to increase volumes by 1 million barrels a day this year.

“The idea of bringing a lot of production in a short period is not practical,” Mazrouei said.

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