The UAE’s Ambassador to Washington, Yousef Al Otaiba, has signalled Abu Dhabi’s readiness to pump more oil into the market and encourage the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to ramp up supplies.
In interviews with the Financial Times and CNN, Al Otaiba stressed that his country “favours production increases and will be encouraging OPEC to consider higher production levels”.
Brent, the major benchmark for the international crude oil trade, which topped $130 per a barrel on Wednesday, plummeted to about $111 per barrel after the UAE envoy’s remarks. US crude futures fell 12% to less than $109 a barrel, in the biggest one-day decline in nearly two years.
Al Otaiba’s remarks followed OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo warning earlier this week that there was “no capacity in the world at the moment that can replace 7 million barrels [a day] of exports” from Russia, which remains the world’s top exporter of crude and fuel.
This came as Washington called on global oil producers to increase production, with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm saying that “in this moment of crisis we need more supply”.
“Right now we need oil and gas production to rise to meet current demand”, she told participants at an industry event in Houston on Wednesday. Granholm stressed the need to “responsibly increase short-term supply” so as to “stabilise the market and minimise harm to American families” in the midst of increasing oil prices.
The call was preceded by US President Joe Biden on Tuesday annoucing a total ban on Russian energy imports, including oil and gas, over Moscow’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine to demilitarise and de-Nazify the country.
“[…] The United States is targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy. […] That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Puti’s war machine”, POTUS said in a televised address.
He noted that Washington consulted its allies around the world before making the decision, saying that the US is “moving forward with this ban understanding that many of our European partners and allies may not be in a position to join us”.
The US president also argued that the sanctions, earlier imposed by Washington and its allies on Moscow over its special operation in Ukraine, had already inflicted “significant damage” to the Russian economy.
The Biden administration has repeatedly pressed international oil producers to ramp up their output in order to help reduce oil prices, which skyrocketed to $130 a barrel, the highest level in 14 years, last Sunday amid reports of the US planning a ban on energy imports from Russia. The OPEC+ alliance, which includes Russia, however, declined to go beyond a plan agreed upon in 2021 to increase production each month by 400,000 barrels a day.
An American delegation has, meanwhile, visited Venezuela to discuss “energy security” and sustain the US economy as gas prices in America have already surged to an unprecedented high of $4.25 per gallon on average. Besides holding talks with Venezuela on energy related issues, the Biden administration is reportedly looking at Iran as an alternative source of oil supplies.
Earlier this month, Tehran made it clear that it is ready to step up oil output once America’s anti-Iranian sanctions are lifted.
Russia began a special military operation to demilitarise Ukraine on 24 February after weeks of escalating shelling by the Ukrainian Army against the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), who turned to Moscow for help. The Russian Defence Ministry said that only Ukrainian military infrastructure is being targeted during the operation, which doesn’t pose a threat to civilians.
Source: Agencies (editted by Al-Manar English Website)