Saudi energy minister: I do not influence oil prices

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Sunday he does not influence oil prices, just two days after U.S. President Donald Trump called on OPEC to bring down the cost of fuel.

“I do not influence prices,” Falih told reporters in Algiers ahead of a meeting of OPEC ministers and allies such as Russia to discuss the situation in oil markets.

Benchmark Brent oil LCOc1 reached $80 a barrel this month, prompting Trump to call again on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to lower prices.

“We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not

be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push

for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember. The OPEC

monopoly must get prices down now!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar, Rania El Gamal and Olesya Astakhova, writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Dale Hudson