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Oil prices down after United Arab Emirates supports increase in production in response to Ukraine crisis

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Posted: Friday, March 11, 2022. 10:46 am CST.

(Photo credit Reuters/BBC News)

By Aaron Humes: This week oil prices fell after weeks of skyrocketing due to supply disruptions sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The United Arab Emirates, a member of the powerful oil cartel OPEC [Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries] announced it would support increasing production, according to the BBC, dropping the price of international benchmark Brent crude by more than 17 percent.

“We favour production increases and will be encouraging OPEC to consider higher production levels,” Ambassador Yousuf Al Otaiba said in a statement tweeted by the UAE Embassy in Washington.

With families facing a fresh financial squeeze, world leaders have pledged to try to ease price pressures with greater production, led by the United States, which has reached out to Venezuela in recent days.

Prices have been soaring for more than a year amid a rapid rebound in demand for oil, which had collapsed in the teeth of the pandemic, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted sanctions which cut off buyers for its seven-percent share of global supplies – the U.S. and Canada banning them entirely while the United Kingdom said it would phase out purchases by the end of the year.

Oil prices reached a high of US$139 this week before settling back to about US$112 a barrel.

But even with the recent agreement by the International Energy Agency (IEA) to release 60 million barrels of oil from strategic national reserves, and signals for more releases if needed, that will not be enough to respond to the recent run-up in prices.

The UAE statement comes just one week after OPEC rebuffed calls to raise production levels, saying it would stick to an earlier plan to gradually increase output.

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