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

ABU DHABI (Reuters) – The group of oil producers OPEC is not the enemy of the United States, said the Energy Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Suhail al-Mazrouei, in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

The OPEC president of the UAE Oil Minister, Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, addresses a press conference after an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, on June 22, 2018. REUTERS / Heinz-Peter Bader

"We are complementing each other, we are not enemies here," Mazrouei told an industry conference in Abu Dhabi, which addressed the relationship between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the United States, one of the main oil-consuming countries.

OPEC and other leading world oil producers led by Russia agreed in December to reduce their combined oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day from January to avoid an oversupply and increase falling prices.

The decision came despite calls from US President Donald Trump for the oil exporters' club to refrain from cutting production and said it would cause an increase in oil prices worldwide.

Mazrouei said the average price of oil in 2018 was $ 70 per barrel. His Oman counterpart, Mohammed al-Rumhi, addressing the same event, said he expected a price between $ 60 and $ 80 per barrel in 2019.

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

"We are assuming there are no changes in the cut we have," he said.

Mazrouei also said he did not expect members of OPEC, Venezuela, Libya or Iran, who actually have exemptions from the cuts, to increase their oil production in 2019, rather it is more likely that their production will decrease.

Both Mazrouei and Rumhi said it was not necessary for OPEC and its allies to meet before April, when they are determined to decide their production policy for the rest of 2019.

"Things are working well," said Rumhi, whose country participates in the supply reduction agreement, but is not a member of OPEC.

Report of Rania El Gamal and Maha El Dahan; Written by Maher Chmaytelli and Lisa Barrington; Edition by Kirsten Donovan

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