Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been repeatedly called upon by Western leaders to increase oil production in order to counter soaring prices. So far, all requests have been bluntly refused by Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, and other OPEC members. Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Abdullah bin Salman, and his Abu Dhabi counterpart, Al Mazrouei, have again and again emphasized their focus on the stability of the global energy markets.

OPEC has gone through major crises before, including wars between member countries (Iran-Iraq), and even sanctions (Iran), without breaking up. The power of the cartel has forced Western and Asian oil consumers to become increasingly assertive in their demands of the group. In light of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the growing threat of Moscow's militarization of energy, OPEC’s oil market actions are increasingly regarded as political.

OPEC's recent decision to remove the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) oil market data and reporting from its official list will be seen by OECD states as further evidence of its political leanings. OPEC strategies are clearly linked to the geopolitical views held its members. The growing divide between OPEC and the West is not only based on oil and gas demand or differences of opinion regarding the global energy transition.

OPEC’s strategy is currently being driven by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. The impact of the Arab Spring, a civil war in Syria and Libya, and the removal of Egyptian President Husni Mubarak are all still fresh in the memory of the region. The fact that US president Biden is yet to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is not being taken lightly.
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