While analysts speculate just how low prices have to drop before Saudi Arabia cuts production longtime Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi said he has the answer: It’s up to Allah.
In an interview with CNBC on Monday al-Naimi said there is no specific price point that would force Saudi Arabia to cut production.
“No one can set the price of oil – it’s up to Allah,” al-Naimi told CNBC.
The comments echo earlier statements from the oil minister supporting his country’s decision to honor OPEC’s 30 million barrel per day production target despite crude prices falling to six year lows.
“The production of OPEC is 30 percent of the market, 70 percent from non-OPEC…everybody is supposed to participate if we want to improve prices,” Al-Naimi said in March.
“These tensions aren’t new to the oil market, and we’ve dealt with them in the past with a solid will, with wisdom and experience,” King Salman said.
In the interview Al-Naimi also touched on Iran’s recent sanction ending nuclear agreement with western powers.
While news of the deal sent crude prices falling on fears that Iranian crude will exacerbate the current crude supply glut al-Naimi said he is “not worried at all” about the possibility.
Western sacntions have held Iran’s crude exports at 1 million barrels per day although the oil rich country pumps about 3.5 million barrels per day, according to OPEC.
A recent report by OPEC pinned the fall in oil prices on speculators, likening the traders to “puppeteers” and predators.
“Prowling the exchanges, they are quick to exploit any situation that can bring them the desired big pay day that feeds their burning ambition and bank balances. They can be unscrupulous, at times ruthless, especially when the stakes are high,” OPEC said.