DUBAI/LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman said Wednesday it was too early to declare victory against the COVID-19 virus and that oil producers must remain “extremely cautious.”
Speaking at the International Energy Forum, the minister added: “We are in a much better place than we were a year ago, but I must warn, once again, against complacency. The uncertainty is very high, and we have to be extremely cautious.
“Those who are trying to predict the next move of OPEC+, to those I say, don’t try to predict the unpredictable.”
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The coronavirus pandemic was the main focus of the forum, which sees global energy market policymakers, industry players and experts gather for the virtual event hosted from Riyadh.
“The COVID-19 pandemic impact on energy demand and supply balances is unparalleled in the history of energy markets. Restrictions imposed on the world economy caused a systemic shock that most severely struck short-range trends in liquids supply, demand, and stock changes as sweeping revisions show,” a paper prepared for the forum said.
“The production adjustments that OPEC and Non-OPEC producers agreed to under the 2016 Vienna Declaration … cushioned the blow COVID-19 dealt energy markets as subsequent data series underscore.
“The structural energy policy and market shifts that COVID-19 brings shall influence future energy supply and demand modelled in long-term scenarios greatly as well. A swift and inclusive global economic recovery depends on how various public health, macroeconomic, and other variables will reinforce domestic and international energy policy, sustainable development, and climate goals,” the document added.
* With Reuters