Politicizing statistics and forecasts and using them to discredit OPEC and the
OPEC+ group’s oil production decisions sows confusion on the market and
leads to unnecessary volatility, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin
Salman has said.
In an interview with the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the minister gave an
example with the forecast from early in the Russian invasion of Ukraine that the
shunning of Russian oil would result in massive losses in supply of around 3
million barrels per day (bpd).
That was the forecast from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which said
in the early weeks of the war in Ukraine that the market was facing imminent
supply losses of 3 million bpd. In its Oil Market Report for April, the
IEA said that Russian oil supply was expected to fall by 1.5 million bpd in
April, with shut-ins projected to accelerate to around 3 million bpd from May.
“At that time, many accused OPEC+ of being behind the curve and not
responding to a crisis in a timely manner. But these projected losses did not
materialise,” the Saudi minister told SPA.
Forecasters other than OPEC also heavily criticized the OPEC+ decision to cut
the production target by 2 million bpd from November.
“Again, in retrospect, the OPEC+ decision turned out to be the right one for
supporting the stability of the market and the industry,” Prince Abdulaziz bin
Salman said.
“The problem with politicizing statistics and forecasting and using them to
discredit OPEC+ and its stabilizing role, is that it agitates consumers and creates
confusion in the market and gives rise to anomalies and misguided
interpretations, all of which contribute to unnecessary volatility,” the minister
told the Saudi agency.
“At the end of the day, playing politics with statistics and forecasting and not
maintaining objectivity often tend to backfire and result in loss of credibility,”
he said.