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File picture shows a worker examining a pumpjack at a PetroChina oil field in Panjin, Liaoning province June 30, 2014. — Reuters pic
File picture shows a worker examining a pumpjack at a PetroChina oil field in Panjin, Liaoning province June 30, 2014. — Reuters pic

DUBAI, March 28 — Oil producers who felt like outcasts at the COP 26 climate conference last year are now being treated like superheroes because their supplies are in strong demand, UAE energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said today at an industry event.

Mazrouei suggested it was not possible to underinvest and preach renewables and then ask for output boosts during a crunch — long-term planning is needed.

“I think in COP 26 all the producers felt they were uninvited and unwanted but now we are again superheroes, it’s not going to work like that,” he said.

Resource-rich developing nations have often pushed back against calls for a rapid move away from fossil fuels, arguing for a more orderly transition.

Mazrouei stressed the need for investment in oil and gas alongside renewables even though the energy transition is taking place, saying Opec+ needs to replace at least 5-8 million barrels lost every year to keep production where it is.

The United Arab Emirates will work with Opec+ to make sure the energy market is stable, he said.

The UAE is doing its best to raise capacity to 5 million barrels per day (bpd) but that does not mean it wants to act on its own or leave Opec+, a group that includes the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and others, Mazroueisaid.

“We as a country are trying to do our best. We are investing and raising our capacity to 5 million barrels,” he said.

“But that does not mean that we will leave Opec+ or do something unilateral. We will work with this group to ensure that the market is stable.”

Opec+ is scheduled to meet next on March 31.

The group has been raising its output target by 400,000 barrels a day since August to ramp up production after historic cuts prompted as the pandemic slashed demand.

It has in fact struggled to achieve those increases, while the United States and other consuming nations have asked for even faster increases in output.

The oil market has been volatile, buffeted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the expansion of COVID-related lockdowns in China, the world’s largest crude importer.

Mazrouei said Opec+ needs to stay out of politics.

“I think the organisation will stay, Russia is an important member,” he said.

Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 surged 11.5 per cent last week on concerns that sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis would start to bite into its production and exports. It was down more than 3 per cent on Monday.

In the short term, energy markets could tighten with oil demand up almost 3 million bpd over the last year, said Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chief executive of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

He said volatility in prices was the result of an underlying structural issue and demand was expected to reach pre-pandemic levels by the fourth quarter of this year. — Reuters

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