Aramco's Khurais oilfield in Saudi Arabia, 160 km from Riyadh. Photo: Ali Jarekji/Reuters
Aramco's Khurais oilfield in Saudi Arabia, 160km from Riyadh. Photo: Reuters / Ali Jarekji

Despite massive output drops from Iran and Venezuela, oil supplies were sufficient and stockpiles were still rising, said OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and key producer UAE at a meeting of oil exporters in Jeddah on Sunday.

Producer nations discussed how to stabilize a volatile oil market amid rising US-Iran tensions in the Gulf, which threaten to disrupt global supply.

But “we see that [oil] inventories are rising and supplies are plenty,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters at the start the meeting.

“None of us wants to see the [oil] stocks swell again,” he added, with reference to a supply surplus that sent prices sharply lower in the second half of last year.

“We have to be cautious.”

The UAE’s energy minister said there was no need to relax a deal by the OPEC+ group of oil exporting countries to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day to support prices.

“We have seen inventory building. I don’t think it makes sense” to alter the existing deal, said Suheil al-Mazrouei.

At the end of the meeting, Falih told a news conference that the OPEC+ nations were “unanimous in continuing to work to achieve stability between supply and demand.”

The meeting “affirmed its commitment to achieving a balanced market and working towards oil market stability,” said a statement issued at the end of the gathering.

The statement said member states’ conformity to production cuts hit a record 168% in April and an average of 120% since the start of the year.

The meeting comes days after sabotage attacks against tankers in highly sensitive Gulf waters and the bombing of a Saudi pipeline – the latter claimed by Iran-aligned Yemeni rebels.

But Falih reiterated Sunday that the kingdom’s oil installations were well protected.

“We have strong [oil] industry security,” he told reporters.

“Everybody is vulnerable to extreme acts of sabotage.”

The meeting also comes as the full impact of re-instated US sanctions against Iran kick in, slashing the Islamic republic’s crude exports.

– with reporting by AFP

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