The Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Haitham Al Ghais said on Thursday that the International Energy Agency (IEA) should be “very careful about further undermining” oil industry investments, seen as vital for global economic growth.
Al Ghais added that OPEC and OPEC+ were not targeting oil prices but focusing on market fundamentals, and that finger pointing and misrepresenting the actions of the oil exporters and their allies was “counter-productive”.
Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, has been critical of the OPEC+ group of oil producing countries’s announcement earlier this month of production cuts of 1.66 million barrels per day (bpd) from May until the end of 2023.
Oil prices rose above $80 a barrel on the back of the decision, having fallen as low as $70 per barrel last month.
In a Bloomberg interview on Wednesday Birol said OPEC should be careful about pushing oil prices up as that would translate into a weaker global economy.
On Thursday, Al Ghais said blaming oil for inflation was “erroneous and technically incorrect” and that the IEA’s repeated calls to stop investing in oil is what would lead to market volatility.
“If anything will lead to future volatility it is the IEA’s repeated calls to stop investing in oil, knowing that all data-driven outlooks envisage the need for more of this precious commodity to fuel global economic growth and prosperity in the decades to come, especially in the developing world.”