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The United Arab Emirates has reaffirmed its commitment to the Opec+ production agreement, in what appeared to be an about-turn hours after its US ambassador said the Gulf state favoured higher output.

In comments seemed designed to reassure fellow Opec members, Suhail Al Mazrouei, the UAE’s energy minister, said on Thursday that his country believed “in the value Opec+ brings to the oil market”.

“The UAE is committed to the Opec+ agreement and its existing monthly production adjustment mechanism,” he said on Twitter.
Brent crude prices, the international oil benchmark, rose more than 4 per cent on Thursday morning to $117.58 a barrel. They had dropped on Wednesday after Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s powerful ambassador in Washington, said Abu Dhabi favoured “production increases and will be encouraging Opec to consider higher production levels”.

The apparently conflicting messages from the UAE suggested that Abu Dhabi wanted to send a message to the Biden administration that it was willing to help an ally after a period of tense relations, but also that, as a member of Opec+, it had little space to do anything unilaterally.

“The position of the UAE is clear — the underlying policy is that we stick with Opec+. However, Otaiba has to do his job to keep the Americans happy,” said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, an Emirati political science professor.

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