January Industry Affairs

U.S. Shale, Trade War Are UAE’s Key Oil Market Concerns

By Tsvetana Paraskova - Jan 09, 2019, 6:00 PM CST

The U.S.-China trade dispute and the soaring U.S. oil production are the key concerns for the oil market this year, according to Suhail Al Mazrouei, the Energy Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who served as OPEC’s rotating president in 2018, when oil prices had a volatile run that led to another production cut intervention by the cartel.

A heated U.S.-China trade war could be one of the strongest headwinds to global economy this year, Al Mazrouei told CNBC in an interview on Wednesday, but noted that he was cautiously optimistic that the world’s two largest economies would come to an agreement on trade.

“And I tend to be... more optimistic that we are not going to see a war. It's negotiation tactics, they will end on a resolution, whatever it takes, this year or next year,” Al Mazrouei told CNBC.

Referring to the latest production policies of OPEC and its Russia-led non-OPEC allies, the UAE’s energy minister stressed again that OPEC is not chasing a specific oil price.  

“What we learn is the fact that if you make the market at balance, you will get a price that is good for the consumer and a price that is good for the investors. And that price, whatever it is, is going to be the price that we have to accept,” Al Mazrouei said.

While OPEC hears what the U.S. and President Donald Trump have to say about oil prices, the cartel is “not playing with President Trump or any other president,” the UAE’s energy minister said.

“I think what we do is we hear them (the U.S.). They are major consumers versus the major producing nations, we hear what they say but we will always do the right thing from our perspective which is always trying to maintain the balance.”

Asked about how relevant the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has become in today’s oil market, Al Mazrouei told CNBC:

“I think OPEC will always be there. I don’t think we can afford not to have OPEC.” 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com