OPEC ministers meet with Russia to bolster oil prices
Key OPEC ministers were meeting Wednesday with their counterpart from non-cartel member Russia in a bid to better coordinate policy to bolster prices after a period of historically low crude.
The meeting was taking place on the sidelines of the World Energy Congress in Istanbul, which on Monday saw a vow by Russian President Vladimir Putin for Moscow to join output curbs promised by OPEC.
The prospect of Russia, one of the world’s top two oil producers alongside Saudi Arabia, coordinating policy with OPEC has boosted global oil markets in the last days and brought crude to its highest levels for a year.
The energy ministers of OPEC members including United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazroui, Qatar Energy Minister Mohammed Saleh al-Sada and Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino all attended the talks at an Istanbul hotel, an AFP correspondent said.
They were joined by Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, with the meeting chaired by OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo.
They made no comments to reporters as they sat down for the meeting but statements were promised later.
However there were notable absentees from the talks, with the energy minister of the cartel’s kingpin Saudi Arabia, Khalid al-Falih, already having departed from Istanbul and Iraq and Iran also not attending.
Barkindo had applauded Tuesday the tighter cooperation between Russia and the cartel, which last month at a meeting in Algiers agreed its first production cut in eight years.
“We have restored the broad consensus among all producers,” he said.
But al-Falih had also made clear at the congress earlier in the week that Saudi Arabia was against any drastic output cuts by OPEC to squeeze supply and bolster prices.
“OPEC should make sure not to crimp too tightly and create a shock to the market.”
Novak had on Tuesday evoked a possible six month freeze of production levels by Russia to match OPEC’s own output curbs.