Japan Asks UAE to Boost Oil Output as Importers Pressure OPEC

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Japan asked the United Arab Emirates to increase oil exports, as major importers step up pressure on OPEC to help bring down crude prices.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi “would like the UAE to contribute to the stabilization of the global crude oil market by further supplying crude oil and securing production capacity,” the Japanese foreign ministry said in a statement. It was published after the minister met Sultan al Jaber, the head of UAE state energy firm Adnoc, in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Jaber “expressed strong desire to support Japan including through the stabilization of the global crude oil market,” the statement said. The UAE government is yet to comment on the meeting.

The U.S. and Europe have called on members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries -- especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia -- to raise crude output faster following a surge in prices above $100 a barrel. They’ve risen because of demand recovering from the coronavirus pandemic and, more recently, Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

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OPEC has so far resisted those calls, saying in public that the run up in prices is more down to geopolitical tension than an imbalance between supply and demand. The group is in a partnership with other producers, including Russia, that’s known as OPEC+. The Saudis and Emiratis have both said they’re committed to that alliance.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Saudi Arabia and the UAE on Wednesday, but couldn’t give any assurance he’d persuaded their leaders to change their mind on oil production.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck is expected to travel to Abu Dhabi later on Sunday for talks with Jaber and UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei.

OPEC+ is reviving supplies after making deep cuts at the start of the pandemic in 2020. But traders and analysts say its monthly increases of 400,000 barrels per day are too little to lower prices. Moreover, it’s struggling to deliver on those pledges in full as members grapple with production disruptions.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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