OPEC Member Hopes for Alliance With Russia That Lasts ‘Forever’

  • U.A.E. energy minister is drafting charter on cooperation
  • OPEC-led alliance can help avoid future oil gluts, shortages

OPEC's Control of the Oil Market Is Running on Fumes

OPEC’s fourth-largest oil producer is leading an effort to prolong cooperation with Russia and other allies far beyond the expiry of their joint supply cuts this year.

“My hope is for it to last forever,” United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said in an interview with Bloomberg television. By working together they can "prepare for any unforseen surprises in the market, to avoid any glut or any shortage of supply."

Suhail Al Mazrouei on Feb. 20.

Photographer: Chris J Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The global oil market is finally recovering from several years of oversupply, in large part because of joint output cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and a number of other major producers. While the glut could dissipate as soon as the second quarter, nations including Saudi Arabia are signaling they want the cooperation to continue to at least the end of 2018, and potentially much longer.

"The group of 24 countries together are making a contribution to the supply and demand balance,” Mazrouei said after giving a speech at the International Petroleum Week conference in London. “Russia is a critical country in this group, as well as Saudi Arabia, as well as the U.A.E., as well as many other countries."

As the current president of OPEC, Mazrouei said his role is to “try to draft a charter of how we are going to continue working together, for the sake of better economic growth and for the sake of ensuring that we have adequate supply.”

A draft exists, but OPEC is not yet ready to share it, Mazrouei said. Ministers will discuss and hopefully agree on the charter later this year, but that may not be possible, he said.

— With assistance by Grant Smith, Wael Mahdi, and Angelina Rascouet

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