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OPEC+ deal can last 'until death do us part,' Saudi energy minister says

Key Points
  • OPEC's deal to curb oil production with non-OPEC allies, including Russia, can last the test of time, Saudi Arabia's new energy minister said Monday.
  • It was announced on Sunday that Saudi Arabia's King Salman had replaced Energy Minister Khalid al Falih with Prince Abdulaziz, a former deputy minister with decades of experience in Saudi's OPEC delegation.
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OPEC's deal to curb oil production with non-OPEC allies, including Russia, can last the test of time, Saudi Arabia's new energy minister said Monday.

"Now we have a bigger family, which is OPEC plus," Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi's new energy minister, told an audience of delegates at the 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi.

"And very soon we will celebrate the charter that will continue putting us together, so until death do us part," he said.

It was announced on Sunday that Saudi Arabia's King Salman had replaced Energy Minister Khalid al Falih with Prince Abdulaziz, a former deputy minister with decades of experience in Saudi's OPEC delegation.

Abdulaziz was part of the OPEC team that negotiated the current deal with non-OPEC producers (collectively known as OPEC+) to curb production which was struck in late 2016. The deal was extended in July to March 2020.

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Saudi energy minister: OPEC+ relations have evolved

The Kremlin said Monday that it sees no impact on the so-called "OPEC+" deal following the change of leadership at Saudi Arabia's energy ministry and that it expected "business as usual," Reuters reported.

An expectation that Saudi's approach to the so-called "OPEC+" deal will continue as before has buoyed oil prices Monday. Benchmark Brent crude was trading at $61.99 per barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was trading at $56.99 per barrel.

The OPEC+ alliance's policy to curb production has had to confront ample supply from U.S. shale oil producers and a potential fall in demand amid U.S.-Sino trade tariffs seen as subduing global growth.

Prince Abdulaziz said he was "by nature an optimist" and that the "jury is out" when it comes to the outlook for oil demand, adding that if he took IEA (International Energy Agency) projections forecasting slowing demand to heart, he would "probably be on Prozac all the time."