ABU DHABI (Reuters) - OPEC is more focused on identifying the right level of oil inventory at its next meeting than the impact on supplies of new U.S. sanctions on Iran, the United Arab Emirates said.
President Donald Trump said last week that the United States was exiting an international nuclear deal with Iran and would impose new sanctions on OPEC’s third-largest producer.
Asked on Sunday about oil supply worries as a result of the sanctions UAE energy minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui told reporters: “That’s not what we are concerned about now”.
“What we are concerned about in the next (OPEC) meeting is what is the right level of inventory that we should see, and (how) can we put this group together for longer,” he said.
OPEC has a self-imposed goal of bringing inventories in industrialized countries down to their five-year average. The exporting group needs to identify that inventory target in June to gauge the success of the deal, OPEC officials have said.
A decline in Iranian oil exports would add upward pressure on prices, which have already gained this year due to a global supply cut deal between OPEC and non-OPEC producers.
Brent crude rose further after Trump’s announcement on Tuesday and settled at $77.12 on Friday.
OPEC is set to meet in June to set oil policy together with non-OPEC producers participating in the supply cut deal.
Mazroui said there was no reason to worry about supply, adding that this was not the first time an OPEC member had been in such a situation.
“We managed to solve the supply issue but we still believe we have the buffer (in oil supplies)... We will meet in June to discuss it,” he said.
“If history tells us, (when) this happens the whole organization will get together and they can find a solution.”
Reporting by Rania El Gamal, Writing by Katie Paul; Editing by Alexander Smith