Participants arrive for the opening session of the 15th International Energy Forum in Algiers, September 27, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Russia has hailed a recent decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut oil output.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that the recent deal reached by the OPEC countries on curbing oil production was “positive.”
The Russian minister also expressed Moscow’s willingness to continue consultations with OPEC members.
He added that Russia intends to keep its oil production at current levels, while reiterating that Moscow would like to see prices climb to between 50 and 60 dollars a barrel.
“The prices that we announced earlier within the margins of 50-60 dollars are comfortable prices that could satisfy the interests of producers and the interests of consuming countries at the same time. In my opinion, it could be the most stable variant for today.”
OPEC members agreed in an informal meeting in Algeria on Wednesday to limit production in an effort to raise the low crude prices. They decided to cut production by 750,000 barrels a day.
Iran, however, has been exempted from the decision because of its exceptional situation of having been under sanctions for a number of years.
Since the removal of nuclear-related sanctions targeting its oil industry in February, Iran — which is OPEC’s third largest producer after Saudi Arabia and Iraq — has been boosting production in order to reach previous levels and has rejected calls on the country to freeze production as unfair.
The OPEC is yet to decide how much each country will produce in its next meeting in Vienna in November.
Other non-OPEC producers including Russia will also be invited to join the deal.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak (C) arrives for an OPEC meeting in the Qatari capital, Doha, April 17, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Venezuela expects Russia to join in.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday that he expected Russia to support OPEC’s efforts to boost oil prices by reducing crude output.
“This agreement should be consolidated in the coming days,” Maduro said in comments broadcast on state television, adding, “I am very optimistic that major non-OPEC producing countries, such as the Russian Federation, will also take part in this joint effort of OPEC countries.”
‘OPEC not dead’
Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh said on Thursday the agreement demonstrates that the organization is still “alive.”
Referring to the deal, he said, “The fact that, in spite of differences within OPEC, this decision was made was a success for OPEC, and the decision showed that... OPEC is alive and can decide in the interest of its members at critical times.”
Iran, whose production has reached 3.6 million barrels per day, insists on having the right to increase the figure up to around 4.1-4.2 million bpd.
Zangeneh said many countries had wanted Iran to freeze its production or even decrease it ever since a previous OPEC summit in February, but that Iran’s insistence counteracted such inclinations.

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