The energy minister of the United Arab Emirates said Wednesday that OPEC is ready to respond as tensions rise in the Middle East, saying that no country can afford a return to a situation where crude oil costs $100 per barrel.
Suhail Al Mazrouei told CNN Business that the cartel would seek to ensure that ample energy supplies are available to the global economy even as the United States and Iran exchange blows in a conflict that could further destabilize the volatile region.
“We will always make sure that we supply the world with whatever it requires,” al Mazrouei said, adding that the United Arab Emirates was building spare capacity in order to avoid shortages.
Still, the energy minister cautioned that even OPEC and its allies don’t have unlimited resources. “We have limitations as well,” he said, saying that the group “cannot just replace any quantity” of supply that is taken offline.
Al Mazrouei suggested that Iran, itself a major oil producer, would avoid attacks on shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial waterway that allows oil tankers to move crude from the Persian Gulf to global markets.
“The Strait of Hormuz is not only important for us, it is important for the world economy and the whole supply chain, and Iran understands that,” said al Mazrouei. “The world economy cannot sustain another $100 oil price and another huge spike.”
Brent crude futures, the global benchmark, briefly topped $70 per barrel on Wednesday after Iran launched missiles at two Iraqi military bases that house US troops.