Iran says Qatar’s decision to quit the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) shows the frustration of small producers at the dominant role of a Saudi and Russia-led panel that determines production cuts in order to help regulate prices.
“This is very regrettable and we understand their frustration,” Iran’s OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, referring to Doha’s announcement on Monday.
He said the decision reflect a growing anger by producers against what he described as the unilateral approach adopted by the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) – which is led by OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia and global major producer Russia – to decide over production cuts.
“There are many other OPEC members frustrated that the JMMC is deciding on production unilaterally and without the required prior consensus of OPEC,” Kazempour Ardebili told Reuters.
Qatar in a surprise announcement on Monday said it would leave OPEC next month in a move that appears to have been meant to take a swipe at the group’s de factor leader Saudi Arabia.
Saad al-Kaabi, Qatar’s energy minister, told reporters in a news conference that Doha had informed OPEC about its decision on Monday morning.
Oil prices have fallen from a four-year high above $86 a barrel in early October on concerns over excess supply. OPEC and its allies, which have had a supply pact since 2017, meet in Vienna on Thursday and Friday to discuss supply cuts.
“Since May, they have inflicted a $30 loss on all members,” Kazempour said in reference to the JMMC, “flooded the market and created a huge glut, which is building stocks.
“With this behavior, for small producers there is no merit to stay in OPEC.”
Iran believes that any supply reduction should come from those who pumped more – Saudi Arabia and Russia have provided the largest increases – rather than all 25 OPEC and non-OPEC countries involved in the current accord.
“Now they are asking others to share in the cut. Whoever increased, they should cut,” Kazempour further told Reuters. “The pilot and co-pilot crashed the plane and all 25 passengers are now in critical condition.
“With this record of failure, I doubt that the declaration of cooperation will be extended.”
Russia and Saudi Arabia, by contrast, want to renew and institutionalize the cooperation deal.