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OPEC+ members are queuing up to back production cuts after US coercion

  • The US claimed more than one OPEC country forced to cut
  • Iraq Kuwait, other OPEC+ members, stand by the decision
  • The Saudi defense minister says the decision was purely financial

CAIRO, Oct 16 (Reuters) – OPEC+ members lined up on Sunday to support a sharp output cut agreed this month after the White House, escalating a war of words with Riyadh, claimed Saudi Arabia had forced some other nations to support the move.

Washington noted on Thursday that the cut would boost Russia’s foreign earnings and suggested it had been engineered for political reasons by Riyadh, which on Sunday emphatically denied backing Moscow in its war with Ukraine.

The kingdom’s defense minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, also said the Oct. 5 decision to cut production by 2 million barrels per day – which was taken despite oil markets being tight – was unanimous and based on economic factors.

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His comment was echoed by Iraq, OPEC’s second largest exporter, and several other producer states.

“There is full agreement among OPEC+ countries that the best approach to manage oil market conditions in the current period of uncertainty and uncertainty is a preventive approach that supports market stability and provides the guidance needed for the future,” state oil marketer SOMO said in a statement.

Kuwait Petroleum Corporation CEO Nawaf Saud al-Sabah also welcomed the decision by OPEC+ – which includes other major producers, notably Russia – and said the country was keen to maintain a balanced oil market, state news agency KUNA reported.

Oman and Bahrain also said in separate statements that OPEC unanimously agreed to the reduction.

Algeria’s energy minister called the Oct. 5 decision “historic,” and he and OPEC Secretary-General Haitham Al Ghais, who visited Algeria, expressed their full confidence in it, Algeria’s Ennahar TV reported.

Ghais later told a press conference that the organization was targeting a balance between supply and demand rather than a specific price.

Oil stocks in major economies are at lower levels than when OPEC cut production previously.

But some analysts have said the recent volatility in crude oil markets could be remedied by a cut that would help attract investors to an underperforming market.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday that “more than one” OPEC member had felt pressured by Saudi Arabia into the vote, adding that the cut would also boost Russia’s revenue and blunt the effectiveness of sanctions imposed over country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Khalid bin Salman said on Sunday that he was “surprised” by claims that his country “stands with Russia in the war with Ukraine”.

“It is telling that these false accusations did not come from the Ukrainian government,” the king’s younger son wrote on Twitter.

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Reporting by Moataz Mohamed, Yasmin Hussien and Maha El Dahan; additional reporting by Nayer Abdallah and Ahmed Tolba; Editing by Louise Heavens, Alexandra Hudson

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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