OPEC president says oil freeze will help stabilize prices

OPEC oil freeze

Qatar’s energy minister, Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada, who holds the rotating presidency at OPEC, says oil prices could climb back above $50 a barrel within a year if the cartel freezes prices.

“At the moment the best possible feasible proposal is to freeze at the level of production of January,” al-Sada said in an interview with CNNMoney on Thursday.

“We think [a production freeze] will gather more and more approval because it is [in] the interest of all parties,” he added.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar and Venezuela have all agreed to a production freeze, and non-OPEC member Russia has also said it would freeze output.

On Wednesday Iran’s oil minister said the idea that a freeze would improve prices is a “joke.” Iran has promised to continue increasing oil production in an attempt to regain the market share it lost during several years of US sanctions.

Al-Sada says Iran said it would support “any measures” to stabilize the market, but only if “special consideration” is given to the country.

Iran isn’t alone in its attempts to increase production. Iraq wants to boost output as it rebuilds its economy.

Oil prices dipped below $27 this year and have fallen off a cliff since 2014, losing 70% of its value.

Saudi Arabia’s oil minister says smaller producers who lack access to increased funding will likely help reduce production by exiting the market in the coming months.