(Bloomberg) --

OPEC+ member Azerbaijan said the cartel’s policy of raising daily crude production by 400,000 each month was cautious and still appropriate given the global economy’s slow recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s good for the time being,” Azeri Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov said in an interview in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “We have agreed on a very wise and smart program for the months to come. The OPEC+ agreement brings additional stability to the global-production balance.”

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and partners such as Russia and Azerbaijan have been under pressure from major oil consumers -- including the U.S., Japan and India -- to raise output faster following their deep cuts last year as the pandemic spread.

Gas Crisis

Brent crude climbed above $85 a barrel this week, taking its gain this year to 65%. Iraq, one of OPEC’s biggest producers, on Wednesday said prices could hit $100 a barrel next year.

“In the future, if the world needs more oil, it will be throughly considered inside OPEC+,” Shahbazov said.

Azerbaijan, which pumps around 700,000 barrels of oil a day, is trying to send more natural gas to Europe to ease prices there, he said. He said part of the reason gas prices have surged to record levels is a lack of investment in fossil fuels.

“The plan is to increase exports,” he said. “If we underinvest in gas, consumers will use coal and fossil fuels and we pollute the environment even more.”

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