OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and fellow member the United Arab Emirates signalled on Wednesday they were unlikely to push for a major change in oil output at the group’s meeting this week to prop up prices that have collapsed by a third since June.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said he expected the oil market “to stabilise itself eventually” after talks with non-OPEC member Russia on Tuesday yielded no pledge from Moscow to tackle a global oil glut jointly.
OPEC’s meeting on Thursday will be one of its most crucial in recent years, with oil having tumbled to below $79 per barrel due to the U.S. shale boom and slower economic growth in China and Europe.
Core Gulf oil producer the UAE sided with Naimi, saying oil prices would soon stabilise, while ramping up pressure on non-OPEC producers.
“This is not a crisis that requires us to panic … we have seen (prices) way lower,” UAE Oil Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui told Reuters. “I think everyone needs to play a role in balancing the market, not OPEC unilaterally”.
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