SAUDI OIL MINISTER: ‘No one can set the price of oil — it’s up to Allah’ (USO, VDE, OIL)

Saudi Arabia Ali Ibrahim Naimi

Oil cartel OPEC has lost control over the price of oil.

Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali Al-Naimi, however, does not think that Saudi Arabia or OPEC can really control oil prices.

“No one can set the price of oil — it’s up to Allah,” he said Tuesday in an interview with CNBC.

Saudi Arabia and OPEC, the 12-member oil cartel of which Saudi Arabia is the most influential member, has insisted on maintaining its oil production targets despite the recent decline in prices.

The cartel was long seen as setting the price of oil, which had been at or above $100 a barrel for most of the last 5 years before a nearly 50% decline in prices occurred in the second half of 2014. The slide really started to gain momentum on Thanksgiving day last year when OPEC decided not to cut production. OPEC will meet again in June.

There has also been America’s shale boom, which has increased global supply, and these forces are seen as the main catalysts for the decline in oil prices.

Al-Naimi also told CNBC that he is not worried about Iran’s oil production coming back online. If political sanctions on Iran are lifted, the country would begin exporting oil again, and the US Energy Information Administration estimates that extra supply from Iran could sink oil prices by as much as $15.

Oil prices, however, have have rebounded in recent weeks; West Texas Intermediate crude oil held above $50 per barrel for most of April, and on Tuesday, climbed by more than 1% to as high as $59.89 per barrel.

Brent the international benchmark, is also up about 1% to trade near $67 a barrel.

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SAUDI OIL MINISTER: ‘No one can set the price of oil — it’s up to Allah’ (USO, VDE, OIL)

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