UAE sees OPEC oil capacity ‘buffer’ offsetting Iran sanctions


ABU DHABI • OPEC has enough spare production capacity to cushion the oil markets if the US re-imposes sanctions on Iran, according to United Arab Emirates (UAE) Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei.oil markets

Three members of OPEC — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE — provide an adequate “buffer” of potential output, Al Mazrouei told reporters in Abu Dhabi. He serves this year as OPEC’s president.

“Don’t worry about supply,” Al Mazrouei said. “I don’t think there will be issues as a result of sanctions.”

President Donald Trump announced plans last week to withdraw from the Iran nuclear accord and re-impose US sanctions on OPEC’s third-biggest producer.

Trump’s decision presents a challenge for OPEC and allied suppliers as they cut output to drain a global glut.

OPEC’s policy of cutting until the end of the year may falter in the wake of Trump’s decision. While it’s still uncertain how much he intends to restrict Iranian oil exports, most analysts predict a decrease.

Estimates vary from “little impact” anticipated by Barclays plc, to a possible loss of more than 50% of the country’s 2.7 million barrels of daily shipments predicted by consultant FGE.

Al Mazrouei declined to quantify OPEC’s unused production capacity. “We will meet in June to discuss that.” OPEC “can find a solution” to offset the impact US sanctions would have on supply, he said.