Saudi Arabia has 'no intention' of implementing a 1973-style oil embargo to Western countries, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Monday.
In the aftermath of the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Al-Falih reiterated in an interview with Russian news agency TASS that Saudi Arabia did not intend having a repetition of the 1973 oil crisis, in which the price of oil quadrupled from US$3 to $12 per barrel of oil.
'We suffered in the past from political crises - this is not the first time. This incident will pass,' Al-Falih said, adding that, 'Saudi Arabia is a very responsible country. For decades we used our oil policy as a responsible economic tool and isolated it from politics.'
- Future of global oil market
On behalf of Saudi Arabia, the global top oil exporter, Al-Falih expressed intent to continue cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC countries.
'We want to sign a new cooperation agreement that is open-ended, and which does not expire after 2020 or 2021. We will leave it open,' Al-Falih said.
'I hope, when we [OPEC] meet on Dec. 7 in Vienna, we will be able to sign it,' he added.
Commenting on the downward trend in global oil demand, spurred on by emerging markets' currency pressures, he said: 'I think there are many uncertainties about 2019 and it would be very premature for us to say what we will do. The only certainty for 2019 is that we need to be ready to act promptly and effectively.'
'So potentially a world economic slowdown could hurt oil demand. And if demand is low, we know oil markets will respond,' he added.
'On the supply side, we could have problems with production disruptions. First, we have sanctions on Iran, and nobody has a clue what Iranians' export will be. Second, there are potential [output] declines in different countries like Libya, Nigeria, Mexico and Venezuela.
'If any of these countries' production is significantly impacted, it will have an impact on the balance in the market. Then there is uncertainty about U.S. shale oil. Also, many people say that in 2019 there will be pipeline constraints on moving oil production in the U.S. So we need to be ready to look at the balance,' he affirmed.
Nonetheless, he asserted that with the upcoming sanctions on Iran on Nov. 4, OPEC and non-OPEC countries would be able to replace the volumes resulting from anticipated Iranian disruptions. But, he said there was no guarantee that oil prices would not exceed $100 per barrel.
- Death of Jamal Khashoggi
Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, was last seen on Oct. 2 when he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
After days of denials on his whereabouts, Saudi Arabia on Saturday claimed Khashoggi died during a fight inside the consulate.
On the day of Khashoggi's disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while he was still inside, according to Turkish police sources. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.
A joint Turkish-Saudi team completed an investigation into the case on Thursday after searching the residence of the consul general as well as the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Reporting by Emre Gurkan Abay in Moscow
Additional reporting and writing by Firdevs Yuksel