Two top OPEC oil producers, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, can barely increase oil production, French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said he had been told by the UAE's president.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been perceived as the only two countries in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) with spare capacity to boost global deliveries that could reduce prices.
"I had a call with MbZ," Macron was heard telling U.S. President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the G7 summit, using shorthand for UAE leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. "He told me two things. I'm at a maximum, maximum (production capacity). This is what he claims."
"And then he said (the) Saudis can increase by 150 (thousands barrels per day). Maybe a little bit more, but they don't have huge capacities before six months' time," Macron said.
The UAE's top energy official confirmed Macron's statement to the country's state news agency.
"In light of recent media reports, I would like to clarify that the UAE is producing near to our maximum production capacity based on its current OPEC+ production baseline," said Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei.
World oil prices have been steadily rising in recent months due to a shortage of supply and rebound in demand from the worst of the coronavirus epidemic. Prices have risen further since the Russia-Ukraine conflict escalated in late February.
On Monday, benchmark crude rose after Reuters reported Macron's comments. Brent oil prices rose 1.7% to above $115 per barrel as the West seeks ways to reduce Russian oil imports to punish Moscow.
Saudi Arabia is producing 10.5 million bpd and has a nameplate capacity of 12.0 million-12.5 million bpd, which in theory shall allow it to raise production by 2 million.
The UAE is producing some 3 million bpd, has capacity of 3.4 million and has been working on raising it to 4 million bpd.
Europe is looking for ways to replace as much as 2 million bpd of Russian crude and some 2 million bpd of refined products it had been importing from Moscow before the Russia-Ukraine conflict.