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|12 January, 2019

OPEC is not the enemy of the US, UAE minister says

OPEC and other leading global oil producers led by Russia agreed in December to cut their combined oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day

UAE's Oil Minister OPEC President Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei addresses a news conference after an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, June 22, 2018.

UAE's Oil Minister OPEC President Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei addresses a news conference after an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, June 22, 2018.

REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

ABU DHABI  - The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is not the enemy of the United States, United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.

"We are complementing each other, we are not enemies here," Mazrouei told an industry conference in Abu Dhabi, addressing the relationship between OPEC and major consuming countries like the United States.

OPEC, and other leading global oil producers led by Russia, agreed in December to cut their combined oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day from January in order to balance the oil market.

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The decision came despite U.S. President Donald Trump's calls to oil exporters to refrain from cutting production, saying it would trigger higher oil prices worldwide.

Mazrouei said he expected an average price of around $70 a barrel for Brent crude this year, an estimate shared by his Omani counterpart Mohammed al-Rumhi who, addressing the same event, said he expected a price of between $60 and $80 a barrel.

The 1.2 million bpd cut should be enough to balance the market, Mazrouei said, expecting the correction to start this month and to be achieved in the first half of the year.

He said there was no need for major oil exporters to hold an extraordinary meeting before the one planned in April.

"Things are working well," said Oman's Rumhi, whose country is taking part in the supply reduction agreement without being a member of OPEC. He also said there was no need for major exporters to meet before April.

(Reporting by Rania El Gamal and Maha El Dahan; Writing by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Kirsten Donovan) ((maher.chmaytelli@thomsonreuters.com;))

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