Saudi Energy Minister pokes fun at speculators: "Don't predict the unpredictable!"


Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman

The monthly OPEC+ meeting ended on Tuesday without a major shift in production policy of the organisation; the members agreed to go ahead with the planned increase in the output for June and July.

The price of crude oil, Brent, meanwhile, hit above the psychologically significant mark, $70, on Tuesday despite the outcome of the OPEC+ ministerial meeting not being clear.

There were plenty of speculations about the possible last-minute policy changes on social media, though; nothing materialised in the end.

Although the members stated that they did not take up the issue of the revival of 2015 Iranian nuclear deal and its potential impact on the supply / price pair, no adjustment was made with regard to the crude oil output beyond July.

The members of the OPEC+, however, appear to be cautious about Iran’s entry into the markets; Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the Saudi Energy Minister, meanwhile, said on Wednesday, that oil producers must remain ‘extremely cautious’, citing the uncertainty over keeping Covid-19 at bay.

He lost no time in rebuking those who predict the moves by the OPEC+ - and oil price for that matter:  “Those who are trying to predict the next move of OPEC+, to those I say, don’t try to predict the unpredictable,” said Prince Abdulaziz.

The Iranian media, meanwhile, echoes reasonable optimism about a possible breakthrough during the discussion in Vienna over the revival of the JCPOA, 2015 Iran nuclear deal: the tone seems to be much more conciliatory than it was a few days ago; quoting Iranian officials, they even say that neither the forthcoming presidential election nor the new administration will affect the ongoing talks over the nuclear deal.

At the beginning of the week, a key Iranian official blamed unnamed ‘West Asian regimes’ on the difficulties faced by the Iranian delegation in reaching a deal in the talks involving the signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal; the use of the nations in questions in plural sense clearly indicates that Iran is looking above the shoulders of its arch-enemy in the region, Israel, in spotting the what it considers, 'trouble-makers'.

In another development, the largest ship in the Iranian navy caught fire in the seas near southern Iran on Tuesday; the ship, which could not be salvaged despite a 24-hour operation, finally sank; there were no casualties though; what happened to the ship, however, remains a mystery.

As far as the security in Saudi Arabia is concerned, meanwhile, the explosive-laden drone menace by Houthi rebels shows no sign of abating; on the contrary, the level of sophistication and frequency are becoming a major headache for the Saudi-led Arab coalition forces.

Against this backdrop, when Saudi Energy Minister says that the OPEC+ must be ‘extremely  cautious’, he knows the difficult road ahead in the volatile region where short-lived reconciliations are as frequent as price fluctuations of the commodity in question.   

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