T he head of a US shale oil company on Thursday sang the praises of OPEC for its price-bolstering production cuts of the last two years, a message the organization’s secretary general Mohammed Barkindo said he hopes US President Donald Trump is hearing. “OPEC members play a very important role in stabilizing the market for oil, so those efforts are to be recognized,” John Hess, the CEO of Hess Corp., said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Platts reported. “You are going to need more stable prices, and prices certainly higher than the $52 or $53 WTI price that we have now to keep global oil and gas supply growing with demand in the world and also meeting production declines.”
Trump, who counts OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia among his key ally, has been OPEC’s critic-in-chief, tweeting eight times at the producer group in 2018 to keep oil flowing and prices low for the benefit of the world’s largest oil consumer — the US. The pressure from the president, along with threats by the US Congress to pass so-called NOPEC legislation that would expose the organization to antitrust lawsuits, has OPEC seeking to shed its image as a price gouging organization.
Barkindo was the latest official to spread the message that the bloc’s supply cuts have been a lifeline to oil companies in the US. “You have heard from them. What we have done is commendable. It helped to rescue the US oil industry,” Barkindo said at the Davos event, sharing a stage with Hess and Occidental Petroleum CEO Vicki Hollub. “All I can tell you is that the actions we have taken are holistic decisions that are not just good for the OPEC alliance but also for the US.” OPEC, Russia and nine other non-OPEC allies in December agreed to cut 1.2 million bpd for the first six months of 2019, just after completing a two-year 1.8 million bpd production cut agreement from 2017-2018.