Abu Dhabi (AFP) – Emirati Oil Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said Friday he expects supply levels on world markets to “stabilize”, easing pressure on crumbling prices.
“The market will oblige all (producers) not to reduce but to stabilize their output levels,” Mazrouei, whose country is a key OPEC producer, told satellite news channel Sky News Arabia.
He expected world demand for crude to rise this year by 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) and also said it was “possible” that supplies from non-OPEC producers fall by 500,000 bpd.
Producers could fall short of the 1.8 million bpd gap because “several countries have suspended investments” needed to boost output capacity, the United Arab Emirates minister said.
Mazrouei said he was “optimistic over a return of stability” on the market, without specifying what action the OPEC cartel or its members would take.
Oil surged Friday on world markets, following a report in the Wall Street Journal quoting Mazrouei as saying the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was willing to cooperate with other producers on trimming the global crude supply glut.
That was reportedly based on a reporter’s tweet of the minister‘s interview with Sky News Arabia.
In Friday deals, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April jumped $1.60, or 5.3 percent, to $31.66 a barrel.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for March was up $1.30, or 5.0 percent, at $27.50 a barrel compared with Thursday’s close.
WTI had Thursday settled at $26.21 — the lowest close since May 2003.
Some market analysts said the support for oil prices mirrored a recovery across European stock markets rather than the Wall Street Journal report.