New OPEC Scribe Says Russia is ‘Main’ in OPEC+
The new Secretary-General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a former Kuwaiti oil executive, Haitham al-Ghais, has said that Russia is “a big, main and highly influential player in OPEC+ the world energy map.”
The OPEC+ is a loosely affiliated entity consisting of the 13 OPEC members and 10 of the world’s major non-OPEC oil-exporting nations. OPEC+ aims to regulate the supply of oil in order to set the price on the world market.
Speaking to a Kuwait newspaper, Alrai, in an interview quoted by Reuters, Al-Ghais said the cartel is not competing with Russia on the oil market and that Russia was vital for the success of the OPEC+ agreement.
Ai-Ghais is expected to attend his first OPEC+ meeting as OPEC secretary-general this week. According to early reports, the group will likely discuss keeping oil production unchanged in September from August, although some sources told Reuters it might also talk about a modest increase.
Al-Ghais described the global oil market as currently “very volatile and turbulent.” The according to him, “OPEC doesn’t control oil prices, but it practices what is called tuning the markets in terms of supply and demand.”
The new OPEC scribe also echoed the opinions of fellow OPEC members, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, that the oil price rise was not only the result of the Ukraine war but the consequences of processes that began much earlier.
“All the data confirm that prices began to rise gradually and cumulatively, and before the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian developments, due to the prevailing perception in the markets that there is a shortage of spare production capacity, which has become confined to a few and limited countries,” the new secretary-general told Alrai.
He stressed that that prices could rise further because of insufficient investment in new production. Just how high oil could go, however, Al-Ghais declined to predict.
The Kuwaiti oil official assumed the office of OPEC secretary-general yesterday and will serve for a term of three years. He can be reelected but only once. He replaces Nigeria’s Mohamed Barkindo, who passed away last month in Nigeria.
Barkindo had actually served out his two tenures as the OPEC secretary general before his death.