Falih Shrugs Off Threat of US Cutting Oil Imports

Falih Shrugs Off Threat of US Cutting Oil ImportsFalih Shrugs Off Threat of US Cutting Oil Imports

OPEC’s two biggest suppliers to the US shrugged off a vow by President Donald Trump to end dependence on the group’s oil, saying the world’s biggest economy would continue to need crude from abroad.

The US is “closely integrated in the global energy market,” Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said, while his Venezuelan counterpart Nelson Martinez said he expects his country’s crude exports to the world’s top consumer to remain stable, Bloomberg reported.

“The positions that the US and Saudi Arabia take in global energy are very important for global economic stability,” al-Falih said Sunday at a meeting of producing countries in Vienna. He added that Saudi Arabia was looking forward to working with the Trump administration.

Just after his inauguration on Friday, Trump said he was “committed to achieving energy independence from OPEC and any nations hostile to our interests,” by exploiting “vast untapped domestic energy reserves”, according to a plan posted on the White House website.

The US imported about 3 million barrels a day from the organization last year, with Saudi Arabia and Venezuela accounting for 1.81 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Venezuela’s Martinez played down any concern that his country’s shipments to the US might dwindle under the Trump administration. 

“The export volumes will be maintained,” he said. “There is a lot of interdependence in the world of energy. It’s good to maintain it for everyone’s good.”

Saudi Arabia exported an average of 1.08 million barrels a day of crude to the US in 2016, while Venezuela shipped about 733,000 barrels a day and Iraq some 400,000 barrels a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

OPEC is waiting for a new US energy secretary to take office to learn more about Trump’s energy policies, Mohammad Barkindo, the group’s secretary-general, said Sunday in the Austrian capital.

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