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Saudi Energy Minister Says OPEC Predictions Have Been Spot On

In an interview with the Saudi state news agency (SPA), the Saudi energy minister said that despite heavy criticism of OPEC+’s recent decision to cut oil output, the cartel’s market predictions have been more accurate than others as they have been based on fundamentals rather than politics.

“As I have emphasized multiple times, in OPEC+ we leave politics out of our decision-making process, out of our assessments and forecasting, and we focus solely on market fundamentals. This enables us to assess situations in a more objective manner and with much more clarity and this in turn enhances our credibility,” Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told SPA.

The first prime example was the oil price prediction environment surrounding the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the spring of this year. 

“At the start of the Ukraine crisis, some predicted large supply losses of more than 3 million b/d which caused panic and contributed to extreme volatilities,” the prince said, noting accusations were flying that OPEC+ was not responding appropriately to the crisis, “these projected losses did not materialise”. 

The prince also argued that in October, when OPEC+ decided to cut oil output, the move was described as highly risky and suggestions were that it had been driven by politics. Panic mongers, the prince suggested, sounded alarm bells that the decision would “tip the global economy into recession and cause harm to developing countries”. 

“Again, in retrospect, the OPEC+ decision turned out to be the right one for supporting the stability of the market and the industry,” the Saudi energy minister told SPA. 

Oil prices themselves seem to support the prince’s assertions. While oil prices hit an all-time high of $147 per barrel in March, right after Russia invaded Ukraine, the rest of the year has seen Brent and WTI pare most of those gains.

On Monday at 12:20 p.m. EST, Brent was trading at just over $80 per barrel, while WTI was trading at just over $75. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on December 20 2022 said:
    Before I comment on this article, I would respectfully ask the author to stop describing OPEC+ as a cartel because a cartel it isn’t and has never ever acted as one. The real cartel is the United States and the EU who have introduced price caps on both Russian oil and gas exports to influence both oil and gas prices.

    Unlike the bogus, shallow and biased predictions by the International Energy Agency (IEA), OPEC+ projections before, during and after the Ukraine conflict were absolutely spot on and based on market fundamental and correct assumptions and not on politics.

    Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman should take great credit for distancing his country from politics inside OPEC+ and helping OPEC+ concentrate on economics. This has been enhanced by his close relations and coordination with Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak who is in charge of his country’s relations with OPEC+.

    Most projections by analysts and experts nowadays are either intended to undermine oil prices or lying about Russian oil exports, production and discounts or hyping about US shale oil production’s potential as Rystad Energy, the IEA and Reuters’ reporting have been doing for years. That is why they have been overwhelmingly proven wrong.
    .
    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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