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OPEC+ 'only a phone call away' if markets need balancing - UAE minister

By Maha El Dahan, Alex Lawler and Yousef Saba

ABU DHABI (Reuters) -The United Arab Emirates' energy minister said on Monday that OPEC+ was always willing to balance crude oil markets if needed, and that if consumers require its help, the alliance of top producers was "only a phone call away".

Suhail al-Mazrouei told a major industry event in Abu Dhabi that OPEC+, which groups the producer bloc with allies including Russia, can always be trusted to balance oil supply and demand. "We are only a phone call away if the requirements are there," he said.

OPEC+ faced one of its biggest clashes with the West after it agreed oil production cuts in October, a decision the U.S. administration called shortsighted. OPEC+ producers rallied around top oil exporter Saudi Arabia after the United States accused it of pushing members into the cut.

The group is expected to hold its next meeting in Vienna on Dec. 4, one day before an agreement by the Group of Seven countries to cap Russian oil sales at an enforced low price is due to go into effect.

Energy ministers and CEOs of top oil companies have meanwhile gathered in Abu Dhabi to discuss investment in oil and gas, crude markets, energy prices and economic growth at a time when Russia's invasion of Ukraine has shaken up the global oil trade.

Speaking at the conference on Monday, U.S. energy envoy Amos Hochstein said energy had to be priced to allow for economic growth, adding that more investment is needed in the oil and gas sector.

Investment from the United States and others is not enough, he stressed. "Regardless where you are on energy spectrum, we must all invest and innovate," he said.

Hochstein said the relationship between the United States and the UAE is "strong, long-standing and enduring". Reflecting on the spat with OPEC+, he told reporters: “People are allowed to have disagreements. It’s a lot less drama than people think.”

OPEC raised its forecasts for world oil demand in the medium- and longer-term in an annual outlook released on Monday, and said $12.1 trillion of investment is needed to meet this demand despite the energy transition.

The view from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in its 2022 World Oil Outlook contrasts with that of other forecasters which see oil demand reaching a plateau before 2030 due to the rise of renewable energy and electric cars.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE, two of the world's biggest oil producers, are boosting output and refining, and working on clean hydrogen, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Monday.

"We and the UAE are going to be the exemplary producers," he said.

The UAE is releasing its first revision of its energy plan in 2023, which will increase its green targets, Mazrouei said.

"We are expecting that this update will have more green sources of energy in it," he said. "We will see the target, but the expectation, I'm optimistic that we will raise up the contribution of renewables."

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) Chief Executive Sultan al-Jaber said earlier that zeroing out hydrocarbon investment due to natural decline could lead to a loss of 5 million barrels of oil a day per year from current supplies.

"This would make the shocks we have experienced this year feel like a minor tremor," Jaber said.

The world needs maximum energy and minimum emissions, he said.

"Here are the hard facts: Global supply chains continue to be fragile. Geopolitics are now more complex, fragmented and polarised than ever," he said.

(Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Tom Hogue, Jason Neely and Jan Harvey)