New OPEC Secretary-General Haitham Al Ghais said Wednesday that the influential producer group is not to blame for soaring inflation, pointing the finger instead at chronic underinvestment in the oil and gas industry.
“OPEC is not behind this price increase,” Al Ghais told CNBC. “There are other factors beyond OPEC that are really behind the spike we have seen in gas [and] in oil. And again, I think in a nutshell, for me, it is underinvestment - chronic underinvestment,” he added.
“This is the harsh reality that people have to wake up to and policymakers have to wake up to. Once that is realized I think then we can start to think of a solution here. And the solution is very clear. OPEC has a solution: invest, invest, invest,” Al Ghais said.
Asked whether OPEC, which produces roughly 40% of the world’s oil output, should shoulder the blame for surging energy prices driving up inflation, Al Ghais replied: “No, absolutely not. I mean it’s all relative, that’s number one.”
“Number two is OPEC is doing its part. We have been increasing production in line with what we see and a gradual mechanism that has been very transparent … We are doing everything we can to bring the market back to balance but there are economic factors that are really beyond OPEC’s control,” he added.