Talks for global oil freeze 'probably in April': Russian energy minister

14th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

A meeting of oil producers to discuss a global deal to freeze production levels will likely take place in April, Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said Monday.

"The place and time of a meeting of oil-producing countries is being discussed. It will probably be held in April," Interfax news agency quoted Novak as saying.

Novak said earlier this month that a meeting of OPEC members and other oil-producing countries could be held between March 20 and April 1.

Four major oil producers -- Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Qatar -- said last month they were ready to freeze their output at January levels if other oil-producing countries joined their initiative.

Oil prices, which have plummeted more than 60 percent since mid-2014 partly because of oversupply, have recently recovered slightly following talk of an output freeze.

Novak said that Iran could be excluded from the deal to allow it to increase its crude production after Western sanctions over its nuclear programme hindered its access to the global oil market.

"Iran's position is that it needs to retrieve its pre-sanction production levels within the framework of OPEC quotas," Novak said. "The country could join the freeze later."

World oil prices fell sharply on Monday after Tehran reportedly announced over the weekend that it would only join an output freeze once its supply had reached pre-sanction levels.

© 2016 AFP

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