Germany calls on OPEC to increase oil output
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck on Tuesday issued an “urgent appeal” to OPEC oil producers to ramp up output following a spike in prices and supply fears due to the Ukraine crisis.
Habeck called on top oil producing nations to “increase production in order to create relief on the market.”
“That would be a contribution” to easing the stress on firms and households, he said at a Berlin press conference, adding that it was “an urgent appeal” to OPEC.
The plea came as the price of Brent crude, the international benchmark, soared by more than five percent ahead of an expected announcement by President Joe Biden of a US ban on Russian oil imports over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The price of a barrel reached $129.92 at 1430 GMT.
At last week’s OPEC+ meeting, the 13 members of the Saudi-led OPEC group and their 10 allies, including Russia, agreed to hold firm on plans to stick to existing output targets through April.
Europe is heavily reliant on Russian energy imports, and Western sanctions against Russia have so far not targeted oil and gas.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has called Russian energy supplies of “essential importance” for people’s daily lives in Europe’s biggest economy.
The United States is set to move forward with an energy ban on Tuesday, with US media reports saying Biden will announce a stop for imports of Russian oil and liquefied natural gas.
Russia accounts for less than 10 percent of US imports of oil and petroleum products, which means the impact on the world’s largest economy would be easier to bear than for European economies.
The OPEC+ oil cartel plans to boost production by just 400,000 barrels a day in April, the same pace as in recent months.
Their next meeting is on March 31.