Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) CEO Sultan al-Jaber expects a slow increase in oil prices over the medium term, as supply and demand rebalance.

Al-Jaber, who was appointed in February, said Adnoc does not have “any degree of control over the future direction of oil prices”.

“While we expect to experience continued volatility in the short term, we also expect to see a slow but upward improvement in prices in the medium term,” the CEO said in an interview with the UAE’s official Emirates News Agency (Wam).

“Overall, we think 2016 and 2017 will be the years during which markets will start to rebalance the gap between demand and supply, barring unforeseen events.”

Adnoc is by far the largest oil producer and exporter in the UAE. Representatives from the country are expected to meet delegates from other major oil-exporting states in Doha on 17 April to discuss freezing crude production levels to try and buoy prices.

Al-Jaber said Adnoc is still committed to boosting production capacity to 3.5 million barrels a day (b/d) by 2018. The company is estimated to be able to produce about 3 million b/d at present.

“We are committed to achieving the overall target of 3.5 million b/d, while we take into consideration prevailing market conditions,” said the CEO. “Like everyone, we are closely monitoring price, supply and demand, among other market variables.”

Brent crude traded at between $37 and $43 a barrel in March, having recovered from a low of about $30 in January. The price began to fall in mid-2014, down from almost four years of consistent $100-plus prices.

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