OPEC signaling retreat from market share suicide pact

AP/Fuel Fix:
The United Arab Emirates threw its support on Thursday behind a plan by major oil producers to freeze output levels in an attempt to halt a slide in crude prices that has pushed them to their lowest point in more than a decade.

Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Venezuela announced their willingness to cap output at last month’s levels at a surprise meeting in Qatar this week — but only if other major oil producers join them. OPEC member Kuwait has since said it supports the proposal.

The support from the Emirates, a close Saudi ally, does not come as a major surprise but is still significant. The seven-state federation is OPEC’s third-largest oil producer.

Energy Minister Suhail Mohammed al-Mazrouei said in a statement to state news agency WAM that the Emirates supports any proposal to freeze output through consensus with OPEC and Russia, which is not part of the oil-producing bloc.

“We believe that freezing production levels by members of OPEC and Russia will have a positive impact on balancing future demand based on the current oversupply,” he said.
The market share strategy has been a disaster for OPEC, and state-owned companies have shown they lack the ability to adapt to new market conditions.   Venezuela was a basket case before the bottom fell out of the market, but even rich petrostates like Saudi Arabia have suffered in their attempt to squeeze shale drillers out of the market.


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