Naftogaz says OPEC is on the wrong side of history

Naftogaz CEO Yuri Vitrenko says OPEC is on the wrong side of history in its engagement with Russia.

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The chief executive of Ukraine’s state energy giant Naftogaz says the oil-producing group OPEC is on the wrong side of history in its engagement with Russia to stabilize the energy market.

Speaking to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Monday, Naftogaz CEO Yuri Vitrenko warned Middle East-dominated exporting countries to recognize the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine as a challenge to their resources.

Asked if OPEC was at risk of losing coordination with the international community over Russia’s widely condemned aggression, Vitrenko replied: “Yes, it seems they are on the wrong side of history.”

“They have a vested interest in world economic development, in world sustainability, and Putin is challenging that sustainability. He is challenging their resources. They may not realize it at the moment but if we live in the world. Putin wants us to live, for the Gulf countries.” There will be no resources, ”he continued.

“Again, what they have been creating for years will disappear. They need to be fully aware of it,” Vitrenko said.

An OPEC spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

In response to President Vladimir Putin’s war with Ukraine, governments around the world have imposed unprecedented sanctions and severed economic ties with Russia. However, OPEC does not appear to be willing to take similar action against Moscow.

Russia is a key partner in the broader OPEC + energy alliance and a major oil exporter.

OPEC King Saudi Arabia has previously said the group would keep politics out of their output decision.

Speaking to CNBC in late March, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz said OPEC’s existence depended on separating the goal of stabilizing oil prices from other geopolitical factors.

– CNBC’s Elliott Smith contributes to this report.

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