CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – The president of OPEC on Monday defended the oil producer group against U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent demands for higher oil output, saying OPEC does not shoulder the blame.
Trump has accused the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in recent weeks of driving gasoline prices higher and urged the group to do more.
“OPEC alone cannot be blamed for all the problems that are happening in the oil industry, but at the same time we were responsive in terms of the measures we took in our latest meeting in June,” Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries president Suhail al-Mazrouei told Reuters in an interview in Calgary, Alberta.
“I feel OPEC is doing its part.”
Mazrouei said OPEC is willing to listen to major oil-producing countries, including the United States.
OPEC agreed in June on a modest increase in oil production starting in July after its leader Saudi Arabia persuaded arch-rival Iran to cooperate, following calls from major consumers to curb rising fuel costs.
Global oil prices LCOc1 have climbed steadily this year, helped by rising demand, and topped $80 per barrel in May for the first time in 3-1/2 years.
Mazrouei, who also serves as energy minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said OPEC member crude producers have enough capacity to handle any unforeseen global supply disruptions. OPEC is seeking a balance between supply and demand, not targeting a crude price, he said.
The UAE alone has 400,000 to 600,000 barrels per day of additional capacity, he said.
Mazrouei said he did not anticipate needing to call any extraordinary meeting of OPEC member countries before a scheduled meeting in December.
The OPEC president is in Canada during its annual Calgary Stampede, a rodeo that serves as the year’s biggest oil-industry networking party. Mazrouei is scheduled to speak on Wednesday to a business group that promotes stronger trade ties between Canada and the UAE.
Reporting by Marcy Nicholson in Calgary, Alberta; writing by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by James Dalgleish