Saudi official warns of western sanctions against Russia
Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud has warned against western sanctions declared on Russia leading to shortage of energy supplies.
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Speaking at an industry conference in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, the minister warned that the sanctions targeting Russia could backfire in case of rising demand.
“All these sanctions, embargoes, they all will convolute into one thing and one thing only: lack of energy supplies of all kinds when they’re most needed,” he said. “That is my worry.”
The West - previously Russia's main energy market - has responded to the almost a year-long war in Ukraine, by targeting Moscow's energy revenues through a series of sanctions.
Saudi Arabia and Russia are partners in OPEC+, an alliance that includes members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and several others. But, Western bans have led Moscow to muscle in on Riyadh’s regular markets in Asia with cut-rate crude prices and the kingdom to sell more in Europe.
Asked what lessons had been learned from energy market dynamics in 2022, Prince Abdulaziz said the most important one was for the rest of the world to “trust OPEC+”.
“We are a responsible group of countries, we do take policy issues relevant to energy and oil markets in a total silo and we don’t engage ourselves in political issues,” he said.
OPEC+ agreed last year to cut its production target by 2 million barrels per day, about 2% of world demand, from November until the end of 2023 to support the market.
The market-monitoring committee of the OPEC+ met earlier this week and recommended keeping crude production steady.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also held a phone call with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to discuss cooperation within OPEC+ in order to maintain oil price stability.