Oil producers who were spurned as enemies of the energy transition in the run up to the COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow last October are now being fêted by western leaders because oil is in strong demand, according to United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei.

“I think in COP 26 all the producers felt they were uninvited and unwanted, but now we are again superheroes. It’s not going to work like that,” he said on Monday during an industry event in the emirate of Dubai.

Instead of treating the industry as either heroes or outcasts, Al Mazrouei said the focus should be on increased investments and long-term planning to boost output.

Opec+ producer need to replace at least 5 million to 8 million barrels lost every year to keep production at present levels, he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

He said the UAE will continue to work with Opec+ to stabilise global oil markets, but added that the nation would not act unilaterally.

“We will work with this group to ensure that the market is stable,” he said.

Boosting output

UAE’s oil-rich emirate, Abu Dhabi, is spending billions of dollars to ramp up production capacity to 5 million barrels per day by 2030, up from the existing 4 million bpd.

While the emirate is producing way below its installed capacity, it foresees strong oil demand in the coming years, as it embarks on an expansion drive.

Al Mazrouei also said Opec+ is non-political and stressed that Russia will remain part of the group, even as governments across the globe sideline the nation following its invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking to CNBC on Monday, he said no other country argued that Russian production is too significant to be replaced by oil and gas from others, and he argued that politics should not distract from the producer group’s efforts to manage energy markets.

“Always, Russia is going to be part of that group and we need to respect them,” he was quoted as saying.

The US and other Western nations have called on Opec and other oil-producing nations to increase output to help reverse record-high prices driven by the Ukraine war.

However, Opec+, which is due to meet within days, is expected to stick to its previously agreed quota of a monthly increase of 400,000 bpd, Upstream understands.

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