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OPEC+ 'limited' in its ability to mitigate rising oil prices: Saudi energy minister

Highlights

Market has sufficient crude oil, Prince Abdulaziz says

Oil prices being led higher by other energy commodities

Indian minister says OPEC+ should factor in consumer pain

OPEC and its allies do not see any crude oil shortages in the market, Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Oct. 20, dismissing calls from consuming countries to increase supplies to tame rising prices.

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"For the first time, we see our role limited," Prince Abdulaziz said at the India Energy Forum by CERAWeek. "The issue is not the lack of crude oil. Even if we supply it, ... where are the refineries that will convert it?"

Dated Brent prices have more than doubled in the last year, with S&P Global Platts assessing the benchmark at $85.03/b on Oct. 19.

OPEC+ members are in the midst of an agreement to increase crude production by 400,000 b/d every month, but key customers, including India, the US and Japan, have complained that the alliance is still holding back too much supply.

The OPEC+ alliance is next scheduled to meet Nov. 4 to review production plans for December.

Earlier at the conference, Indian petroleum minister Shri Hardeep Singh Puri said he hoped OPEC+ would "factor in the sentiments" of consuming countries.

"Whilst we are trying to ensure that economic activity accelerates, the fact of the matter is if high prices undermine that economic activity, then with that slowing down, demand for oil and gas will also slow down," he said.

Prince Abdulaziz, however, said that crude prices were being led higher by other commodities, such as natural gas and coal, in a case of the "tail wagging the dog."

He also blamed governments and companies for not holding sufficient inventories and failing to anticipate the global economy's fast rebound from the pandemic.

Most of all, though, he said the current squeeze was being exacerbated by a lack of hydrocarbon investment over the past few years.

"What we have today is, people are not focusing on the real cause of the issue," Prince Abdulaziz said.