By Courtney Trenwith
Saudi Arabia’s veteran oil minister says OPEC member countries can not be held responsible for the decline in the oil price
Members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cannot be held solely responsible for the drop in oil prices, Saudi Arabia’s veteran oil minister has said.
Ali Al Naimi called on non-OPEC members to cooperate in helping to raise the crude oil price, which has lost about 60 percent since mid-2014.
“GCC countries have made serious efforts to balance oil prices, but the prices are set by the market,” he said on Monday.
“We refuse to take responsibility alone because OPEC produces 30 percent of market output and 70 percent comes from outside.”
OPEC’s November decision, led by its largest member, Saudi Arabia, not to cut production rates and help boost the falling oil price has been blamed for the continuing decline.
Asked whether OPEC would be willing to work with non-members, Al Naimi reportedly referred to the 1998 oil price crash, when the organisation worked with non-members to cut output and support oil prices.
“Today, the situation is difficult. We tried, met with them but did not succeed because they insisted that OPEC should take the responsibility alone,” he was quoted as saying.
“All must contribute if we want to improve prices because it is in the interest of all.”
Al Naimi Gulf states’s oil policy, insisting they were attempting to stabilise the market.
“We are not against anyone. We are with all to support stability in the market and to support a balance between supply and demand,” he said.
He also said Saudi Arabia did not object to non-OPEC member oil producers, such as Russia and the US, joining the group, saying several countries had previously turned down invitations.