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.

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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.