“But it’s not in our hands, it’s within the control of the Qatari governments,” he said. “We think that the neighbors of Qatar, not only in the GCC, but elsewhere in the Arab world and in elsewhere in the global community, have made it clear what those conditions are.”
Overall, Al-Falih expected that the deal to cut output would work to clear oil oversupply, despite a market swoon last week on unexpectedly high inventory data.
Oil stockpiles in the United States surged by 3.3 million barrels in the week ended June 2, the Energy Information Administration said in the middle of last week, confounding analysts’ estimates for a 3.5 million-barrel decline and sending oil prices tumbling.
“Weekly data goes up and down. Sentiments in the financial markets of course swing like a pendulum. But that doesn’t change the fundamentals,” Al-Falih said. “What we can influence as oil producers is the fundamentals, the level of supply which will result in drawing down the inventories.”
He was unconcerned by the U.S. spike higher in inventories.
“We’ve seen the U.S. market pull oil from around the world, which has resulted last week in higher inventory, but it’s also created shortage elsewhere,” he said, noting that OECD inventories have been falling and around 50 percent of floating storage has been liquidated into global markets.
International Energy Agency data for March, the latest available, showed that total OECD stocks likely fell by around 1 million barrels a day in the month, and it estimated a 700,000 barrel a day drawdown for the second quarter.
“I think we have to give it time,” he said, but he also pointed to OPEC’s planned meeting in November in which it will also coordinate with key oil producing allies in the output cut pact, including Russia.
“If we find for any reason that we need to adjust the strategy that we have put in place, we will be willing to do that,” he said.
Clarification: This article has been updated to reflect the latest IEA data on oil inventory drawdowns in OECD economies.
—Patti Domm and Sam Meredith contributed to this article.