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Prospective Biden administration welcomed by OPEC leaders

Key OPEC Gulf ministers welcomed Joe Biden’s apparent US election win, saying ties between their countries would remain strong and that an easing of trade tensions with China could boost global oil demand.

“I’d like to congratulate the new administration with winning the new elections,” Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said at the ADIPEC virtual conference Nov. 9. “Regardless of what happens, we have 80 years or more of dealing with each other.”

He added that Saudi Arabia and the Biden administration had common goals of reducing energy emissions.

“We are seeking the same quest, which is being a more efficient producer of energy,” Prince Abdulaziz said. “We welcome [a] new approach [from] the US.”

On the possibility of the US re-establishing a nuclear deal with Iran, and its resulting return global oil exports, the prince said OPEC would handle whatever the situation brings.

“Likewise, with what we did with Libya, and Iran in the previous situation. The resilience of OPEC+ is a safe bet,” he said.

UAE energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said he expected the exit of Donald Trump would create a less hawkish US government on trade, facilitating an increase in global oil demand.

“Any ease in the tension between the United States and China with regards to the trade would promote oil demand and would promote further growth in China,” Mazrouei said. “That would lead to more prosperity when it comes to international trade.”

Biden has pledged to return the US to the UN climate change agreement after Trump withdrew from the pact, but Mazrouei said he did not think there would be any short-term impact to the oil market from the move.

Meanwhile, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo said he looked forward to the US participating in the global oil conversation.

“This global conversation would be incomplete, as we found out in the last four years,” he said. “The US has a special place on the table for the global energy transition.”

Barkindo has met several times with US shale producers in an effort to better understand their market dynamics.

While the US is unlikely to join OPEC as its energy industry is composed of dozens of independent producers, Trump this year played a critical role in bringing the OPEC+ coalition back together to implement deep production cuts to combat the coronavirus crisis, following a brief price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Source: Platts

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