WORLD OIL CRISIS: Saudia Arabia and Russia SNUB Trump’s call to boost output


Benchmark Brent oil reached $80 a barrel this month, prompting Mr Trump to repeat his demands for Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to take action to lower prices.

The US President tweeted: ”We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember.

“The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!»

The price rises have stemmed mainly from a decline in oil exports from OPEC member Iran due to sanctions introduced by Mr Trump.

I do not influence prices

Khalid al-Falih

OPEC’s leader Saudi Arabia and its biggest oil-producer ally outside the group, Russia, today ruled out any immediate, additional increase in crude output, effectively rebuffing Mr Trump’s demands.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said: «I do not influence prices.

“My information is that the markets are adequately supplied. I don’t know of any refiner in the world who is looking for oil and is not able to get it.

«The biggest issue is not with the producing countries, it’s with the refiners, it’s with the demand.

Khalid al-Falih/Donald Trump

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih

“We in Saudi Arabia have not seen demand for any additional barrel that we did not produce.»

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said no immediate output increase was necessary, although he believed a trade war between China and the US as well as Washington’s sanctions on Iran were creating new challenges for oil markets.

Iran, OPEC’s third-largest producer, has accused Mr Trump of orchestrating the oil price rally by imposing sanctions on Tehran and accused its regional arch-rival Saudi Arabia of bowing to US pressure.

Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh described Mr Trump’s tweet as “the biggest insult to Washington’s allies in the Middle East».

He spoke as the US President prepares to once again denounce Iran when he presides over the 15-member United Nations Security Council on Wednesday as the US holds the monthly rotating presidency.

The topic of the meeting will be nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, a broad issue that allows leaders around the horse-shoe table to raise a variety of subjects from North Korea to chemical weapons attacks in Syria and Britain.

But Mr Trump suggested on Twitter he will zero in on Iran, when he posted: «I will chair a United Nations Security Council meeting on Iran.”

Tehran has accused Washington of abusing the power of the Security Council president.

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