ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – The energy minister for the United Arab Emirates said Tuesday his country is concerned about the balance in the oil market but added that OPEC does not plan to shift its strategy to shore up falling crude prices.
Oil prices have lost well over half their value since late June, with benchmark U.S. prices now trading below $45 a barrel.
OPEC, a 12-member bloc that includes the Emirates, decided at its last meeting in November to keep its production levels unchanged. A decision to cut production could have helped boost prices — a move that would also benefit rivals including higher-cost producers benefiting from the U.S. oil-shale boom.
Emirati Energy Minister Suhail Bin Mohammed al-Mazroui suggested his country believes OPEC's move is still the right one despite the steep sell-off, and said the organization will likely wait until its next meeting in June before considering any change in strategy.
"We cannot continue just protecting a certain price," al-Mazroui said at an energy conference in the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi.
He said the Emirates is "concerned about the balance of the market but we cannot under any circumstances be the only party that is responsible to balance the market."