Russia’s Energy Minister: Fundamentals, Not Trump Impact Oil Prices

Russia and OPEC are looking at the fundamental forces on the oil market such as supply and demand, rather than at U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told CNBC in an exclusive interview on Thursday.

“You know, we are looking at all the factors that one way or another effect the prices. But in particular for us, it’s the balance between supply and demand,” Novak told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble when asked how he feels about President Trump often calling out OPEC on Twitter for manipulating oil prices or for keeping them “artificially high.”

According to the Russian energy minister, it’s the fundamental factors—the ones that lie in actions, not words—that determine the price of oil long term, not President Trump’s tweets. After a tweet from the U.S. President, prices immediately react and go up and down depending on the message he wants to convey, but the price of oil quickly returns to where it was, Novak said.

The Russian minister was talking to CNBC in Abu Dhabi, where the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) of the OPEC and non-OPEC countries that are part of the production cut deal met today to take stock of the oil market and the OPEC+ coalition’s efforts to erase the glut and prop up prices.

At the end of the meeting, the committee said that all countries, especially those that are yet to fully comply with the deal, promised to achieve at least 100-percent compliance for the rest of the year.

Speaking to Russian media, Novak said that Russia has basically stuck to its production quota. There was some non-compliance in August, but Russia will be fully compliant in September, Novak said, reiterating earlier promises that Russia was still looking to comply in full with its share of the cuts.

Commenting on the new Saudi Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Novak said that he is certain that the new minister will continue the policy to strengthen cooperation between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com