In an interview with the Saudi state news agency (SPA), the Saudi energy minister said that despite heavy criticism of OPEC+’s recent decision to cut oil output, the cartel’s market predictions have been more accurate than others as they have been based on fundamentals rather than politics.

“As I have emphasized multiple times, in OPEC+ we leave politics out of our decision-making process, out of our assessments and forecasting, and we focus solely on market fundamentals. This enables us to assess situations in a more objective manner and with much more clarity and this in turn enhances our credibility,” Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told SPA.

The first prime example was the oil price prediction environment surrounding the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the spring of this year. 

“At the start of the Ukraine crisis, some predicted large supply losses of more than 3 million b/d which caused panic and contributed to extreme volatilities,” the prince said, noting accusations were flying that OPEC+ was not responding appropriately to the crisis, “these projected losses did not materialise”. 

The prince also argued that in October, when OPEC+ decided to cut oil output, the move was described as highly risky, and suggestions were that it had been driven by politics. Panic mongers, the prince suggested, sounded alarm bells that the decision would “tip the global economy into recession and cause harm to developing countries”. 

“Again, in retrospect, the OPEC+ decision turned out to be the right one for supporting the stability of the market and the industry,” the Saudi energy minister told SPA. 

Oil prices themselves seem to support the prince’s assertions. While oil prices hit an all-time high of $147 per barrel in March, right after Russia invaded Ukraine, the rest of the year has seen Brent and WTI pare most of those gains.

On Monday at 12:20 p.m. EST, Brent was trading at just over $80 per barrel, while WTI was trading at just over $75.