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Opec could be expanded with more countries joining

The UAE energy minister says Opec is a concerned group working for market stability

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazroui said Opec is a concerned group working for the market stability and not a cartel. He also hinted about the expansion of the group with more countries joining the organisation headquartered in Vienna, Austria.

“I think there is awareness and wish to expand the membership. Opec has changed over the years, we are a concerned group of market stability, not a cartel. We have more countries who want to join,” said Al Mazroui speaking on the second day of Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (Adipec).

He did not mention the names of the countries which are keen to join the organisation. There are fourteen members in the group currently.

Opec is cooperating with non-Opec countries like Russia, Oman, Kazakhstan, Bahrain in cutting production by about 1.8 million barrels a day to stabilise oil markets and prop up oil prices.

The agreement, which came into effect from January this year, has been extended till March 2018.

“There is a rationale for the group to stay together and expand it later.”

Speaking on the extension of the agreement beyond March 2018, Al Mazroui said there is a need for extension as there is still oversupply in the market.

“We removed more than half of historical record of the overhang of storage and we still have about 160 million barrels, which is above five year average,” he said adding that there is a need to rebalance the market and bring down the storage levels that could be comfortable for both investors and consumers.

“One thing that is not good is fluctuation of oil prices. Small fluctuation rather than large fluctuation is good for the market.”

Bahrain oil minister Shaikh Mohammad Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa also backed the extension of the Opec agreement saying that oversupply risk was expected in 2018 if there is no extension.