October 6, 2018
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, stressed that the Kingdom is fulfilling promises to make up for Iranian crude supplies lost to American sanctions.
“The request that America made to Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries is to be sure that if there is any loss of supply from Iran, that we will supply that. And that happened,” he told Bloomberg in an interview published on Friday.
The action appears lost on US President Donald Trump, who continues to attack the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for letting prices rally while he seeks to choke off supplies from Iran, reported Bloomberg.
On Wednesday the State Department urged OPEC to tap its reserve supplies.
A coalition of producers from OPEC and beyond has recently boosted output by 1.5 million barrels a day, double the 700,000-barrel decline suffered so far by Iran, according to Prince Mohammed.
“We export as much as two barrels for any barrel that disappeared from Iran recently,” he stressed. “So, we did our job and more.”
Saudi Arabia is now pumping about 10.7 million barrels a day — close to a record — and can add a further 1.3 million “if the market needs that,” he added.
Prince Mohammed said that the kingdom could push capacity beyond 12 million barrels a day with additional investment, and that extra supplies are also available from Saudi Arabia’s allies. The so-called OPEC+ coalition spans other Gulf producers like the United Arab Emirates, as well as countries outside OPEC such as Russia.
Trump is reimposing sanctions on Iran after quitting an agreement on the country’s nuclear program, and the measures will take full effect in November.
While many — including Russian President Vladimir Putin — have blamed Trump’s actions for oil’s rally, the price is actually being driven by losses in other countries, according to Prince Mohammed.
“The higher price that we have in the last month, it’s not because of Iran,” he said. “It’s mostly because of things happening in Canada and Mexico, Libya, Venezuela and other countries.”