Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Abdulaziz bin Salman, has defended the move to impose oil supply curbs, citing that it is not the oil producers’ intention to hike prices in the global market.

“We can reduce more, or we can increase, that has been a subject that we want to make sure that the messaging is clear, that it’s not about, again, this jacking up prices,” Abdulaziz was quoted by the media as saying at the World Petroleum Congress in Calgary, Alberta.

Members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, started tightening oil supplies in 2022 to boost the market.

Top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia recently announced they will make further cuts of 1 million barrels per day and 300,000 barrels per day until the end of 2023.

Oil prices have been rising this year following the supply curbs. Benchmark Brent oil futures climbed close to $95 per barrel on Monday. Prices are forecast to hit $100 before the end of the year.

The energy minister also said they are not looking at any specific price level for oil, adding that production plans will be under review every month.

“Proactive, pre-emptive and precaution – these three words will address how we are attending to the situation knowing there are uncertainties coming from multiple directions,” Abdulaziz said.

Saudi’s crude exports plummeted to a more than two-year low last month as OPEC and its allies slashed production to bolster the market.

 (Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)