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The President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, died on Friday, the state news agency of OPEC's third-largest producer reported.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan suffered a stroke back in 2014, and since then, he has rarely participated in the day-to-day affairs of the UAE.
His half-brother, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, known as MBZ, has been the de facto ruler of the UAE for several years now. The crown prince is expected to succeed his half-brother as ruler of Abu Dhabi.
The UAE will observe a forty-day national mourning with the flag flown at half-mast starting today, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs said, adding that work will be suspended at all ministries, departments, and federal, local and private entities for three days.
Under the constitution of the UAE, vice-president and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, would act as president until the federal council of the rulers of the seven emirates meets within 30 days to elect a new president.
The UAE is a major oil producer, OPEC's third-biggest, and is one of the most influential members of the cartel and the wider OPEC+ alliance with some ten non-OPEC producers led by Russia.
In April, the UAE pumped 3.015 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil, up by 36,000 bpd from March, according to secondary sources in OPEC's latest Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) published on Thursday. That's the third-highest output from OPEC behind Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
The UAE is also an influential voice in oil markets, as participants pay attention to what the country's Energy Minister, Suhail al-Mazrouei, says at public events.
Most recently, al-Mazrouei said this week that the extreme volatility in the oil market these days is the result of some buyers boycotting certain crudes and is not connected with OPEC+, and is outside the alliance's control.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.